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European leaders 'shocked' about alleged NSA spying on EU

June 30, 2013 at 10:12 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- European officials said Sunday they were "shocked" and needed an "immediate explanation" of reports that the United States spied on European Union offices.

On Saturday, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that the United States infiltrated the European Union's computer system after EU representatives visited Washington, D.C., CNN reported.

The newspaper said it had "seen part of" top-secret documents obtained by wanted U.S. National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

"A 'top secret' 2010 document describes how the secret service attacked the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington," Der Spiegel said.

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said Sunday that "if the accusations were true it was reminiscent of the Cold War," said ministry spokesman Anders Mertzlufft, adding that the minister "has asked for an immediate explanation from the United States."

In a statement, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said: "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations."

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Saturday that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden asked him to reject Snowden's request for asylum, The New York Times reported.

Correa, speaking from his weekly television address, said Biden called him Friday night and that the two had a "cordial" conversation. Correa said he told Biden that he could not rule on Snowden's asylum request until he enters Ecuador or enters one of its embassies.

Snowden is wanted in the United States on federal theft and spying-related charges. He fled the country earlier this month and was in Hong Kong until he flew to Moscow on June 23. He has remained out of sight since at the Moscow airport since then.

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