NSA gathered data on 60 million calls in Spain in one month, foreign minister calls it ‘unacceptable’
By End the Lie
Spain is the latest country to slam the United States over reported surveillance of their people, with the Spanish foreign minister telling the U.S. ambassador who had been summoned to explain the latest revelations that it is “unacceptable.”
Previously, both France and Mexico lashed out against the U.S. over surveillance in their countries, though the Director of National Intelligence denied the veracity of the reports.
It was also recently reported that Obama actually knew about and approved of the NSA’s surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite claims to the contrary. Some 21 countries are now involved in drafting an anti-NSA resolution in the United Nations in response to the many reports.
Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, the Spanish foreign minister, said that the latest revelations could very well lead to a breakdown of trust between the U.S. and Spain.
“We have asked the U.S. ambassador, as in two previous instances, to facilitate the government in getting the necessary information on this matter, which if confirmed, could lead to the breakdown of the traditional trust that have governed relations between the two countries,” Margallo said to Spanish paper El Mundo, according to USA Today.
El Mundo recently reported on documents showing that the NSA collected data on Spanish phone calls from Dec. 10, 2012 to Jan. 8, 2013, totaling over 60 million communications.
The paper reported that the data collected included the serial numbers of phones and even the location, though the contents of the actual communication were reportedly not collected, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
U.S. Ambassador James Costos had already been summoned to Spain before the El Mundo report was published, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Costos was called by the Spanish foreign ministry over reports published last week that indicated that Spain might have been a target of NSA spying.
Some of what the Spanish government has said seems to be relatively strong, including the statement that such practices would be “improper and unacceptable between partners and friendly countries” if confirmed.
However, Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, said after a summit with EU leaders in Brussels on Friday that he has no evidence that Spain was spied on, according to AFP. That statement came before the El Mundo report was published.
Costos said that the U.S. will address Spain’s concerns and said that “U.S. information gathering has played a critical role in protecting its citizens, in coordinating with U.S. allies and in protecting their interests as well,” according to the WSJ.
“Ultimately, the United States needs to balance the important role that these programs play in protecting our national security and protecting the security of our allies with legitimate privacy concerns,” Costos said.
How Spain actually views such arguments remains to be seen.
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