Published October 30, 2013
MADRID – The head of Spain's intelligence services will give a closed-door briefing to a parliamentary committee about allegations that Spain was a target for surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, the prime minister said Wednesday. He did not announce a date for the session.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke 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. didn't collect the European records alone.
Up to now, Spain has insisted it is unaware of any U.S. spying.
Speaking in parliament, Rajoy didn't refer to Alexander's comments, but said Spain was taking the allegations of U.S. spying seriously. He said such activity, if confirmed, is "inappropriate and unacceptable between partners."
Rajoy said National Intelligence Center chief Felix Sanz Roldan would address the issue in a closed-door session of parliament's official secrets commission.
Opposition lawmakers urged Rajoy to press the U.S. for explanations and to clarify if Spain had 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 efforts to probe allegations that Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone was monitored by U.S. intelligence.
The heads of Germany's foreign and domestic intelligence agencies will also visit Washington "in the coming days," said Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert. He did not say who the Germans were meeting.
French officials were focused on "the nature and the extent of American spying on our territory," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.
French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that the facts "seem well established" and "from this point of view, the denials of the director of the NSA seem improbable."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his government wasn't surprised by reports of alleged U.S. monitoring of leaders of allied countries.
"I am persuaded that everyone knew everything or suspected everything," Lavrov said during a visit to Greece.