Former Democrat President Barack Obama’s National Security Agency has been spying on key officials of America’s long-time European allies in cooperation with Denmark’s intelligence, latest revelations have shown, causing an international scandal and putting a stain on America’s reputation.
Under Obama, the NSA apparently teamed up with the Danes to spy on Germany, France, and several other Western European nations, in a special op reportedly dubbed “Operation Dunhammer”.
Between 2012 and 2014, the NSA reportedly used its own software called Xkeyscore to intercept telephone calls, text messages, and chats of allied officials.
Friends spying friends?
The NSA allegedly used Denmark’s underwater Internet cables in order to spy on top-ranking European officials such as the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
Even though in 2020 Denmark’s authorities changed the entire leadership of the country’s intelligence service, seemingly over the NSA collaboration from several years back, Mette Frederiksen, the country’s Prime Minister, seems to be trying to downplay the international scandal the US got tangled into because of the Obama administration.
Frederiksen told Ritzau, a local news wire, he didn’t think there really was any need for special efforts to restore Denmark’s relations with Germany and France, with a regular ongoing dialogue already in place.
Besides German leader Merkel, senior officials of Obama’s NSA spied on Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s then Foreign Minister, today the country’s President, and Peer Steinbrueck, a former opposition leader.
Top officials in Norway, Sweden, and France were also targeted.
Steinbrueck told ARD, a German public TV broadcaster, that he considered the whole “friends spying on friends” episode “grotesque” and a political “scandal.”
He did note, however, that Germany also collaborated with the NSA on various occasions, and spied on allies and neighbors.
While Denmark’s government has remained relatively silent on the issue, expecting more information, officials in Norway and Sweden have been quite outraged.
Frank Bakke-Jensen, Norway’s Defense Minister, told NRK the spying allegations were very serious.
He stated further it was unacceptable for closely allied countries to spy on each other.
The latest revelations are a deeper spin on an already known scandal.
Back in 2013, Edward Snowden, by now long famous NSA whistleblower, revealed leaked documents that showed the NSA had tapped the phone numbers of nearly 200 senior figures in America’s European allies.
It remains unclear how the Obama administration and Denmark became so tight, or what Denmark received in exchange for the favor.
But it is known that Obama was also caught spying on Trump team members during the presidential campaign in 2016.