NSA monitored 60m calls in Spain, says report
White House 'disarray' as diplomatic crisis from Edward Snowden leaks continues to spread
THE diplomatic crisis created by leaked US intelligence documents continues to deepen after it was revealed that the NSA monitored 60 million phone calls in Spain in a month.
The claim, published in El Pais and based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, comes hard on the heels of revelations that the NSA eavesdropped on private calls made by 35 world leaders and undertook mass surveillance of calls made in Germany. It also coincides with the arrival in Washington of a European Union parliamentary delegation, the BBC reports.
Documents seen by El Pais suggest that the NSA "collected the numbers and locations of the caller and the recipient", but not the calls' content. The mass surveillance was undertaken during a 30-day period in December 2012.
Meanwhile, a report by the Kyodo news agency says that the Japanese government received a request from the NSA in 2011 to help it "monitor fibre-optic cables carrying personal data through Japan, to the Asia-Pacific region". Kyodo suggests that the aim was to spy on China, but Japan refused to co-operate citing legal reasons and a shortage of manpower.
The Guardian says the Obama administration has appeared to be in "disarray" as it struggles to cope with the widening diplomatic crisis. On Sunday, the NSA was forced to deny that its director had discussed the surveillance of German chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone with president Obama.
The denial was in response to a story in German tabloid Bild which claimed the US leader not only knew about the spying he ordered it to be "escalated". Bild says that as well as eavesdropping on calls Merkel made on the private mobile phone provided by her conservative political party it also listened in on calls made on a supposedly secure phone provided by security services.
The public denial issued by the NSA was unusual, the Guardian notes, because the agency rarely comments publicly on specific allegations about its surveillance activities. ·