The European Union reached out to the United States to respond to claims over the weekend that the U.S. bugged E.U. offices in the Unites States and accessed the internal computer networks of their biggest ally and trading partner.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel published the claims after viewing a "top secret" document taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which outlined the spying operations of E.U. offices both in Washington and the UN. The Der Spiegel story was co-written by Laura Poitras, the acclaimed filmmaker Snowden reached out to when he decided to leak confidential NSA documents.
"I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations," said European Parliament President Martin Schulz in a statement. "On behalf of the European parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."
The document also described an "electronic eavesdropping operation" was taking place inside an EU building in Brussels, Belgium. These revelations come shortly before the United States and its European allies were to agree on a massive new trade deal, which is now jeopardized by the spying allegations.
The documents portray the entire European Union, and Germany in specific, as a spying target. German officials would like answers as to why their close ally was spying on them.
"If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war," Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said in an interview. "It is beyond imagination that our friends in the US view Europeans as the enemy."
Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA, told CBS on Sunday morning that Europeans should look into the spying conduct of their own countries before becoming outraged by the behavior of the United States.
Der Spiegel will publish their full story on Monday.