Spain’s government summoned the American ambassador on Monday to discuss allegations of spying by the National Security Agency on millions of phone calls in Spain.
The NSA spying scandal already includes France, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico, but Spain was added to it on Monday when two Spanish newspapers reported that the US agency collected data on 60 million phone calls inside the country.
After meeting with Spanish officials, The New York Times reports that the US Ambassador, James Coscos, issued a statement explaining that he understood Spain’s worries about the surveillance programs. He added:
“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.”
The Guardian notes that the Spanish government also warned that United States that the NSA spying allegations, if proven true, will “lead to a breakdown in the traditional trust” between the two countries.
So far, the United States hasn’t commented on the latest report, which was published by El Mundo. However, Spain did express its concern should the allegations be true. Spain’s minister of foreign affairs, Jose Manuel Garcia, warned of the “breakdown” at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, where he was on an official visit.
According to the report, the NSA gathered data on phone numbers and locations in Spain, but didn’t monitor the content of the calls. The alleged data collection happened between December and early January. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, added at a news conference last week, “Spying activities aren’t proper among partner countries and allies.”
The report about the NSA collecting phone calls in Spain came just days after Der Spiegel revealed that the agency was spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone. It is unclear what the outcome will be after the revelations about the alleged spying programs.
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