Created on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 Written by CIARAN GILES, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Spain's intelligence chief will address Parliament over allegations that Spain was a target for surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday.
Rajoy made the announcement a day after NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander told a U.S. House Intelligence panel that millions of telephone records of European citizens were swept up as part of a NATO program to protect the alliance. Alexander said, however, the U.S. did not collect the European records alone.
The reports of the alleged U.S. spying upon political leaders and European citizens led to an outcry of criticism across Europe last week.
Speaking in Parliament, Rajoy did not refer to Alexander's comments but said Spain was taking the allegations of U.S. spying in Spain seriously. He reiterated that such activity, if confirmed, is "inappropriate and unacceptable between partners."
Up to now Spain has insisted it is unaware of any U.S. spying.
Rajoy said National Intelligence Center chief Felix Sanz Roldan would address the issue in a closed-door session of Parliament's official secrets commission. He did not say when Roldan would appear.
Quizzed Tuesday over whether Spain helped the NSA with its spying, Sanz Roldan would say only that he was forbidden by law to comment on relations with other intelligence services. Still, he insisted that Spain's spy agency always acts within the law.
Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday urged Rajoy to press the U.S. for explanations and to clarify if Spain helped the NSA and whether he had any part in it.
Meanwhile, two senior German officials were in Washington on Wednesday, part of Berlin's effort to get to the bottom of allegations that Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone was monitored by U.S. intelligence.
Merkel's foreign policy adviser, Christoph Heusgen, and her government intelligence coordinator, Guenter Heiss, were in the U.S. capital for talks but her spokesman wouldn't say who they were meeting with. The heads of Germany's foreign and domestic intelligence agencies will also visit Washington "in the coming days," said Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Allegations of massive U.S. spying upon its allies took a new turn Monday when Spain's El Mundo newspaper published a document that it claimed showed the NSA tracked more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone.
The newspaper said the document was one of those leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States but has been granted asylum in Russia.
The paper published two new Snowden documents Wednesday, which it claimed showed that Spain and other countries cooperated with the NSA in the spying.
Both reports were co-written by Glenn Greenwald, who originally revealed the NSA surveillance program based on leaks from Snowden.