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Espionage

NSA accused of tracking phone calls in Spain

A Spanish newspaper has reported that the US National Security Agency recently tracked more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in a month. The news fuels growing European outrage at NSA electronic eavesdropping.

The El Mundo newspaper reproduced a graphic to back its claim, saying it was a National Security Agency (NSA) graph showing 30 days of telephone call tracing.

The telephone monitoring did not appear to record the content of the calls, but just their duration and where they took place, according to the paper. The calls were reportedly intercepted in December 2012 and January 2013.

The paper said such operations were illegal in Spain without the proper legal authority.

One of the joint authors of the article, US blogger Glenn Greenwald, said he had access to previously classified documents obtained by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The newspaper said it had a deal with Greenwald enabling it to view those documents pertaining to Spain.

The Spanish government has summoned the US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, to provide information on Monday about alleged US spying on Spanish telecommunications.

The summons was issued prior to Monday's newspaper report.

Growing indignation

The alleged spying in Spain has added to an increasing scandal over the scope of the NSA's spying activities in Europe, unleashed by the documents leaked by Snowden.

European politicians have expressed outrage over revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's private mobile phone had been monitored by the NSA. France has also been shocked by an October 21 report in Le Monde newspaper that the NSA intercepted 70.3 million recordings fo French phone data over a 30-day period in December and January.

The NSA on Sunday denied German media reports that US President Barack Obama was told in 2010 that Merkel's phone was under surveillance.

But the newspaper Wall Street Journal reports that the spy agency has acknowledged that it listened in on private communications of some 35 world leaders.

A high-ranking German government delegation is expected to visit Washington this week to discuss the allegations with US intelligence officials.

tj/ipj (dpa, Reuters, AFP)