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German Prosecutors Probe NSA Surveillance Claims

German federal prosecutors say they are looking into whether reported U.S. electronic surveillance programs broke German laws.

A new National Security Agency (NSA) data center in Bluffdale, Utah
A new National Security Agency (NSA) data center in Bluffdale, Utah (George Frey/Getty Images)

The Federal Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement Sunday that it was probing the claims so as to “achieve a reliable factual basis” before considering whether a formal investigation was warranted.

It also said private citizens were likely to file criminal complaints on the matter.

Germany news weekly Der Spiegel reports that at least one such complaint was lodged with prosecutors in the state of Hesse last week.

The magazine reported Sunday that apart from its PRISM program used to eavesdrop on Internet traffic, the U.S. National Security Agency also spied on European Union offices on both sides of the Atlantic.

European officials slam US over bugging report

BERLIN (AP) — Senior European lawmakers say they are shocked at reports that U.S. intelligence agents bugged EU offices on both sides of the Atlantic.

The president of the European Parliament said he was “deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices” made in a report published Sunday by German news weekly Der Spiegel.

Martin Schulz said if the reports were confirmed “it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations.”

Green Party leaders in the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, called for an immediate investigation into reports published by Der Spiegel and suggested that further negotiations on a trans-Atlantic trade treaty be put on hold.

They also called for existing U.S.-EU agreements on the exchange of bank transfer and passenger record information to be canceled.

Germany’s justice minister said the reports remind her of “the methods used by enemies during the Cold War.”

Ecuador president: Snowden can’t leave Moscow

PUERTO VIEJO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (kor-AY’-ah) has told The Associated Press that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is “under the care of Russian authorities” and can’t leave Moscow’s international airport without his U.S. passport.

In an interview with the AP Sunday morning, Correa said he had no idea Snowden’s intended destination was Ecuador when he fled Hong Kong for Russia last week. He said the Ecuadorean consul in London committed “a serious error” without consulting any officials in Ecuador’s capital when the consul issued a letter of safe passage for Snowden.

Correa said “the case is not in Ecuador’s hands” and said Snowden must assume responsibility if he broke U.S. laws. But Correa said the broader legitimacy of Snowden’s action must be taken into consideration and Ecuador would still consider an asylum request.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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