Turkish prominent journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul have been jailed for revealing state secrets, in a case widely criticized by international observers.
Erdem Gul received five years and Can Dundar five years and 10 months.
Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, editor and Ankara bureau chief of opposition daily Cumhuriyet, had reported that Turkey had tried to ship arms to rebels fighting the Syrian government.
Shortly before the verdict, a gunman attempted to kill Can Dundar.
The attacker fired several shots while Can Dundar was briefing reporters outside the courthouse. The journalist escaped unharmed and the gunman was arrested. A reporter was lightly injured in the leg.
Speaking after the verdict, Can Dundar said the sentence, and the assassination attempt, were “not given only to suppress and silence us” but to “intimidate the Turkish media and make us scared of writing”.
Can Dundar and Erdem Gul were acquitted of more serious charge of espionage, which could have carried with it a life sentence. But their very prosecution has proved controversial, drawing sharp criticism from human rights campaigners and fellow journalists.
The two journalists are expected to appeal against the verdicts.
John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director for Amnesty International, called the convictions a “travesty of justice”.
He said: “The decision, which punishes good journalism with five years’ imprisonment, shows how the law has buckled and broken under political pressure in Turkey.”
Can Dundar and Erdem Gul were charged in November with espionage after their reports in May 2015 alleging that Turkey’s intelligence services were sending weapons and ammunition to Islamist rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish security forces intercepted a convoy of trucks near the Syrian border in January 2014, and Cumhuriyet alleged these vehicles were linked to Turkey’s MIT intelligence organization.
Alongside the newspaper report was video footage showing police discovering crates of weapons hidden beneath boxes of medicine.
The Turkish government insisted that the trucks were not carrying weapons to the Islamist rebels as alleged, but bringing aid to Syria’s Turkmen minority, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the video footage was a state secret, and by publishing it Cumhuriyet newspaper had engaged in an act of espionage.
He said in a TV address: “Whoever wrote this story will pay a heavy price for this. I will not let him go unpunished.”
Referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Can Dundar said: “Today, we know that the reason for the threats we have been receiving for weeks and the bullets fired from that gun today are due to the fact that we have been shown as targets by the highest office in the state.”
Media freedom has plummeted in Turkey, which now ranks 151st of 180 countries in an index by the watchdog Reporters without Borders.
Former Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to life in prison for espionage.
Ex-President Mohamed Morsi was accused of spying on behalf of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Lebanese militants Hezbollah and Iran.
The court is yet to decide on whether to uphold death sentences given to Mohamed Morsi and 100 others over a mass prison break in 2011.
Mohamed Morsi’s supporters have described the charges against him as “farcical”.
The former leader was deposed in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule and is already serving a 20-year jail term for ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators.
The judge said on June 16 that the Muslim Brotherhood “collaborated with Palestinian Hamas to infiltrate Egypt’s eastern borders and attack prisons”, state TV reported.
Mohamed Morsi was given life, while 16 other Muslim Brotherhood members – including leader Khairat al-Shater – were sentenced to death on charges of delivering secret documents abroad between 2005 and 2013.
In Egypt, a life sentence is 25 years in jail.
A final ruling on Mohamed Morsi’s death sentence for the 2011 prison break is expected after a court recess. It has been awaiting the opinion of Egypt’s highest religious figure, the Grand Mufti.
Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s trial has begun in Tehran, Iran, behind closed doors.
Jason Rezaian, a US-Iranian citizen, was detained in Iran for almost 10 months on charges that include “espionage”.
He has been accused of passing information to “hostile governments”.
Washington Post‘s editor Martin Baron described the trial as “shameful” and criticized the decision to hold it in private.
Jason Rezaian could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Iran has not recently commented on the case, but the Washington Post has spoken out forcefully.
“The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of [Jason] Rezaian,” a statement by the newspaper’s Executive Editor Martin Baron says.
“Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves.
“There is no justice in this system, not an ounce of it, and yet the fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance.”
The newspaper points out that Jason Rezaian was arrested without charge and imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison – placed in isolation for many months and denied medical care he needed.
It says that Jason Rezaian was given only an hour-and-a-half to meet a lawyer approved by the court and “no evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges”.
US officials have repeatedly raised Jason Rezaian’s case during months of nuclear negotiations with Iran, but have declined to link the two.
Jason Rezaian’s family has taken heart from recent comments by President Barack Obama, who said that the White House would not rest until the journalist was brought home safely.
The case is all the more sensitive because it has unfolded during nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West.
Some analysts have suggested the arrest was related to internal power struggles in Iran over the outcome of the nuclear talks.
Iran and six major world powers, including the US, have set a June 30 deadline for a conclusive nuclear deal to end a 10-year impasse.
Jason Rezaian had been the Washington Post‘s Tehran bureau chief since 2012.
The journalist’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was arrested alongside him in July but later bailed, and a third person have also been summoned to appear in court.
Beijing has denounced the US charges against five Chinese army officers accused of economic cyber-espionage.
China says the US is also guilty of spying on other countries, including China, and accuses the US of hypocrisy and “double standards”.
US ambassador in Beijing has been summoned over the incident. China says relations will be damaged.
US prosecutors say the Chinese officers stole trade secrets and internal documents from five companies and a labor union.
China’s defense ministry put out a strongly-worded statement on its website on Tuesday saying that China’s government and its military “had never engaged in any cyber espionage activities”.
It also took aim at the US, saying: “For a long time, the US has possessed the technology and essential infrastructure needed to conduct large-scale systematic cyber thefts and surveillance on foreign government leaders, businesses and individuals. This is a fact which the whole world knows.
“The US’ deceitful nature and its practice of double standards when it comes to cyber security have long been exposed, from the WikiLeaks incident to the Edward Snowden affair.”
Beijing has denounced the US charges against five Chinese army officers accused of economic cyber-espionage (photo FBI)
The defense ministry added that China’s military had been the target of many online attacks, and “a fair number” of those had been launched from American IP addresses.
It said the arrest of the five Chinese army officers had “severely damaged mutual trust”.
According to a Xinhua report on Tuesday, between March and May this year, a total of 1.18 million computers in China were directly controlled by 2,077 machines in the US via Trojan horse or zombie malware.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang lodged a “solemn representation” with US ambassador Max Baucus on Monday night, Xinhua reported.
On Monday US Attorney General Eric Holder said a grand jury had laid hacking charges against the Chinese nationals, the first against “known state actors for infiltrating US commercial targets by cyber means”.
Eric Holder identified the alleged victims as Westinghouse Electric, US Steel, Alcoa Inc, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld and the US Steelworkers Union.
“The alleged hacking appears to have been conducted for no reason other than to advantage state-owned companies and other interests in China, at the expense of businesses here in the United States,” he said.
In the indictment brought in the western district of Pennsylvania – the heart of the US steel industry – the US named Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui, all officers in Unit 61398 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as the alleged conspirators.
FBI officials said the hacking – between 2006 and 2014 – caused “significant losses” at the companies and that there were likely to be many more victims.
Last year, cyber-defense company Mandiant published a report on a Chinese military unit the firm said was behind the vast majority of significant attacks on American federal agencies and companies.
In March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon planned to more than triple its cyber-security capabilities in the next few years to defend against such internet attacks.
Mohamed Morsi’s lawyers have walked out of his trial on charges of espionage and conspiring to commit acts of terror.
The former Egyptian president’s trial has now been adjourned until February 23.
The lawyers withdrew in protest at Mohamed Morsi and other defendants being confined in a soundproofed glass cage.
The Islamist former leader is facing four separate trials, three of which have now opened.
Mohamed Morsi was brought to Cairo’s police academy on Sunday morning by helicopter from the Burj al-Arab prison where he is being held.
In this trial, he and 35 others are accused of working with Lebanese and Palestinian groups to carry out attacks in Egypt.
Mohamed Morsi has been put in the soundproof cage in recent appearances to prevent him shouting and disrupting proceedings.
Mohamed Morsi’s lawyers have walked out of his trial on charges of espionage and conspiring to commit acts of terror
The defendants have said they cannot follow proceedings because of the cage, but the judge insisted that headphones installed inside the dock will allow them to listen.
The cage allows the judge to control when the defendants are heard.
At one point when he was audible, Mohamed Morsi said: “What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid because you have no public support?” Reuters reports.
The court said it would appoint a new defense team.
Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military last July following mass street protests against his rule.
Since Mohamed Morsi was ousted there has been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed government.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organization and authorities have punished any public show of support for it.
Other senior Brotherhood figures, including supreme guide Mohammed Badie and his deputy and former presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater, are also facing a raft of charges,
At least 1,000 people have died in clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi protesters since he was deposed, with thousands more arrested.
In this latest trial, Mohamed Morsi is accused of collaborating with the Palestinian movement Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. If convicted he could receive the death penalty.
Mohamed Morsi’s supporters say he and other senior Brotherhood leaders are the victims of politically motivated prosecutions.
The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
“Mr. Snowden violated US law. He should return to the US and face justice,” said White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.
Edward Snowden, 30, asked for international help to persuade the US to drop spying charges against him in a letter given to a German politician.
He fled to Russia in June after leaking details of far-reaching US telephone and internet espionage.
Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum, allowing him to live in Russia until July 2014.
In a surprise move last week, German Green MP Hans-Christian Stroebele met Edward Snowden in Moscow and revealed the former intelligence contractor’s readiness to brief the German government on NSA’s spying.
Edward Snowden set out his position in a letter, which Hans-Christian Stroebele showed to reporters at a news conference in Berlin on Friday.
The US Congress and the White House have rejected clemency for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden
“Speaking the truth is not a crime,” Edward Snowden wrote. He claimed that the US government was persecuting him by charging him with espionage.
On Sunday, the White House said that no offers for clemency were being discussed.
This view was echoed by the Republican Congressman Mike Rogers and Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein.
Dianne Feinstein said that if Edward Snowden had been a true whistleblower, he could have reported privately to her committee, but had chosen not to.
“We would have seen him and we would have looked at that information. That didn’t happen, and now he’s done this enormous disservice to our country,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said in an interview on CBS television.
“I think the answer is no clemency,” she said.
The scale of the alleged US espionage has provoked international concern and calls for tighter supervision.
Reports that the US bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone for years have caused a diplomatic rift.
The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations but the US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.
Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that in some cases, US spying has gone too far.
John Kerry is the most senior Obama administration official to have commented directly on an issue that has upset America’s European allies.
The US secretary of state said he will work with President Barack Obama to prevent further inappropriate acts by the National Security Agency (NSA).
John Kerry’s comments come as Asian countries have protested at claims that Australia was involved in a US-led spy network.
China has demanded an explanation of the reports, while Indonesia has summoned the Australian ambassador to Jakarta.
Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that in some cases, US spying has gone too far
In his comments, John Kerry also defended the need for increased surveillance, saying it had thwarted terrorist attacks.
“We have actually prevented airplanes from going down, buildings from being blown up, and people from being assassinated because we’ve been able to learn ahead of time of the plans,” he told a conference in London via video link.
“I assure you, innocent people are not being abused in this process, but there’s an effort to try to gather information. And yes, in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately.
“And the president, our president, is determined to try to clarify and make clear for people, and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have the sense of abuse… we are going to make sure that does not happen in the future.”
John Kerry, in his remarks to a conference organized by the Open Government Partnership, said that while some surveillance may have been excessive, claims that up to 70 million were being monitored were an “exaggeration”.
Claims about the extent of US surveillance of targets such as European leaders have strained Washington’s diplomatic relations with some of its key allies.
Australia’s ambassador has been summoned in Indonesia amid reports that Australian embassies have been used as part of a US-led spying network in Asia.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), diplomatic posts in Asia were being used to intercept phone calls and data.
China has also demanded an explanation from the US over the allegations.
The reports were based on an NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The document, which was originally published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, describes a signals intelligence programme called Stateroom which involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic using equipment in US, British, Australian and Canadian diplomatic missions.
Diplomatic posts involved included those in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, amongst others, SMH reported on Thursday.
Australia’s ambassador has been summoned in Indonesia amid reports that Australian embassies have been used as part of a US-led spying network in Asia
A former Australian intelligence officer, who was not named, told SMH that the Australian embassies in Jakarta and Bali were used to collect signals.
In a statement, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said: “[The government] cannot accept and strongly protests the news of the existence of wiretapping facilities at the US embassy in Jakarta.”
“If confirmed, such action is not only a breach of security, but also a serious breach of diplomatic norms and ethics.”
“The reported activities absolutely do not reflect the spirit of a close and friendly relationship between the two neighbors and are considered unacceptable by the government of Indonesia,” the foreign ministry added in a statement.
Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty was summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday.
He described the talks, which reportedly took less than half an hour, as “a good meeting”.
Australia and Indonesia are key allies and trading partners. Australia requires Indonesia’s co-operation on the asylum issue, as many asylum seekers travel via Indonesia to Australia by boat.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing was “extremely concerned” about the report.
“[China] demands that the US offer a clarification and explanation,” she said.
“We demand that foreign embassies in China and their staff respect the Vienna Convention.”
Malaysia’s foreign ministry, in a statement, said it had sought clarification on the issue from the US envoy in Kuala Lumpur, adding that Malaysia’s “security and sovereignty” remained the priority.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the reports. PM Tony Abbott said: “Every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official… operates in accordance with the law.”
The reports are the latest in a series of documents leaked by Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is wanted in the US in connection with the unauthorized disclosures.
The US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
However, correspondents say that in reality most governments conduct surveillance or espionage operations against other countries whose activities matter to them.
Spain has demanded the US to give details of any eavesdropping, amid reports it monitored 60 million Spanish telephone calls in a month.
The US ambassador to Spain, who had been summoned by its EU minister, vowed to clear the “doubts” that had arisen about his country’s alleged espionage.
Spanish Minister for European Affairs Inigo Mendez de Vigo said such practices, if true, were “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
An EU delegate in Washington said there had been “a breakdown of trust”.
Representatives from the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs spoke to members of the US Congress about the alleged US spying on European leaders and citizens.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also sending intelligence officials to Washington to demand answers to claims that her phones were tapped for a decade.
Spain has demanded the US to give details of any eavesdropping, amid reports it monitored 60 million Spanish telephone calls in a month
German media reported that the US had bugged Angela Merkel’s phone for more than a decade – and that the surveillance only ended a few months ago.
The German government hoped that trust between the two countries could be restored, a spokesman told a news conference in Berlin.
The latest allegation, published by Spain’s El Mundo newspaper, is that the NSA tracked tens of millions of phone calls, texts and emails of Spanish citizens, in December 2012 and January 2013. The monitoring allegedly peaked on December 11.
The White House has so far declined to comment on the El Mundo report.
It is not clear how the alleged surveillance was carried out, whether it was through monitoring fibre-optic cables, data obtained from telecommunication companies, or other means.
The NSA is reported to have collected the sender and recipient addresses of emails, along with their IP addresses, the message file size, and sometimes the top or subject line of the message.
For each telephone call, the numbers of the caller and recipient are believed to have been logged, as was its duration, time, date and location.
The contents of the telephone call itself, however, were not monitored, US intelligence officials say. The NSA has also suggested it does not usually store the geolocational information of mobile phone calls, which could determined by noting which mobile signal towers were used.
Germany is planning to send its top intelligence chiefs to Washington to “push forward” an investigation into allegations the US spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The heads of German foreign and domestic intelligence would hold talks with the White House and the National Security Agency (NSA), a government spokesperson said.
Earlier, Germany and France said they want the US to sign a no-spy deal by the end of the year.
EU leaders at a Brussels summit have warned a lack of trust could harm the fight against terrorism.
As well as the bugging of Angela Merkel’s phone, there are claims the NSA has monitored millions of telephone calls by both German and French citizens.
Spain on Friday followed Germany and France in summoning the US ambassador to explain reports of spying on the country. Italy has also expressed anger at reports it too has been spied on.
US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki acknowledged that the revelations – most of them sourced to former NSA worker Edward Snowden – have “posed a moment of tension with some of our allies”.
“We are having discussions with those allies, those will continue, as is evidenced by the German delegation that will be coming here in the coming weeks,” she said.
Jen Psaki also said a review of US intelligence gathering, called for by President Barack Obama, would look at how it affects foreign policy.
The “high level group of outside experts… will consider as part of this how we can maintain the public’s trust, how the surveillance impacts our foreign policy, particularly in an age when more and more information is becoming public,” she said.
Germany will send its top intelligence chiefs to Washington to “push forward” an investigation into allegations the US spied on Angela Merkel
On Friday, the NSA website itself was inaccessible for several hours, with numerous hacking groups claiming credit for the service outage.
The issue was later put down to “an internal error that occurred during a scheduled update”, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.
“Claims that the outage was caused by a distributed denial of service attack are not true.”
German government spokesman Georg Streiter did not give a date for the intelligence chiefs’ trip to Washington but said it was being arranged with “relatively short notice”.
“What exactly is going to be regulated, how and in what form it will be negotiated and by whom, I cannot tell you right now,” Georg Streier told reporters.
“But you will learn about it in the near future because we have created some pressure to do this speedily.”
Angela Merkel made clear her anger at the allegations, which emerged in the German media, when she arrived in Brussels on Thursday for the EU summit.
The German chancellor told reporters after the first day that “once the seeds of mistrust have been shown it doesn’t facilitate our co-operation… it makes it more difficult”.
Angela Merkel said they would be pressing for a “joint understanding by the end of the year for the co-operation of the (intelligence) agencies between Germany and the US, and France and the US, to create a framework for the co-operation”.
At a news conference on Friday Angela Merkel said both Berlin and Paris would, separately, be pressing Washington for a deal that is “clear-cut, in line with the spirit of an alliance”.
French President Francois Hollande said the aim of the initiative “is about knowing about the past and setting a framework for the future and putting an end to monitoring mechanisms that are not controlled”.
Observers say they may be seeking an arrangement similar to the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement the US has had with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada since just after World War II.
A statement from EU leaders on Friday said the recent intelligence issues had raised “deep concerns” among European citizens.
The leaders “underlined the close relationship between Europe and the USA and the value of that partnership,” and “stressed that intelligence-gathering is a vital element in the fight against terrorism.”
But, the statement went on: “A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence-gathering.”
There are reports that the NSA has monitored the phones of 35 world leaders.
European leaders at the EU summit in Brussels say distrust of the US over spying could harm the fight against terrorism.
A statement agreed by the leaders says that “a lack of trust could prejudice” intelligence-gathering co-operation.
France and Germany are pushing for talks with the US to find a new “understanding” by the year’s end.
A number of allegations against US intelligence agents have surfaced this week, including the bugging of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
In addition there have been claims that the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored millions of French telephone calls.
On Thursday, the UK’s Guardian newspaper also reported that it had obtained a confidential memo from the NSA suggesting it had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders.
The latest revelations have been sourced to Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who fled the country earlier this year and is now in Russia.
They have overshadowed other issues at the EU summit in Brussels, including the Mediterranean migration problem, which frames the agenda of Friday’s talks.
Italian authorities said they had intercepted some 800 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean as the EU leaders prepared to meet.
The statement of heads of state or government, released on Friday, reflects the EU leaders’ conclusions following their talks on Thursday.
It says the recent intelligence issues had raised “deep concerns” among European citizens.
The statement says the leaders “underlined the close relationship between Europe and the USA and the value of that partnership”.
It continues: “[The leaders] stressed that intelligence-gathering is a vital element in the fight against terrorism.”
European leaders at the EU summit in Brussels say distrust of the US over spying could harm the fight against terrorism
And it went on: “A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence-gathering.”
Belgian PM Elio di Rupo said: “The objective must remain the same – to fight against terrorism but also respect privacy.
“Everyone can understand the need for exceptional measures given the danger of terrorism… but we are not in the position where we should spy on each other.”
Talks among the EU leaders had continued late into Thursday night.
Speaking afterwards, Angela Merkel said: “We need trust among allies and partners. Such trust now has to be built anew.
“The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies. But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That’s why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be.”
Germany and France said they were proposing talks with the US to settle the row by the end of the year.
The leaders’ statement said: “The heads of state or government took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks with the USA with the aim of finding before the end of the year an understanding on mutual relations in that field.
“They noted that other EU countries are welcome to join this initiative.”
French President Francois Hollande said on Friday: “What is at stake is preserving our relations with the United States.”
EU President Herman Van Rompuy accepted the UK had “a special relationship” with the US, but said Britain was “completely on board with this text”.
UK PM David Cameron has yet to comment.
But a number of other leaders have indicated their support for the French and German position.
Finnish PM Jyrki Katainen said: “We have to talk together with the Americans, and try to find some sort of code of conduct [on] how to cooperate on this kind of issue in the future.”
Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt said it was “completely unacceptable” to eavesdrop on the leader of an ally, a view echoed by Italian PM Enrico Letta, who added: “We want the truth.”
Other leaders signaled the need to move on.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said: “The main thing is that we look to the future. The trans-Atlantic partnership was, and is, important.”
Angela Merkel had raised her concerns with President Barack Obama in a call on Wednesday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney later said President Obama had assured Chancellor Angela Merkel that her phone was not being listened to now and would not be in the future.
However, his statement left open the question of whether calls had been listened to in the past.
John Emerson – the American ambassador in Berlin – has been summoned over claims that the US monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will meet John Emerson later in what is seen as an unusual step between close allies.
Angela Merkel has demanded a “complete explanation” of the claims, which are threatening to overshadow an EU summit.
Germany has summoned the US ambassador in Berlin over claims that the US monitored Angela Merkel’s mobile phone
The German Chancellor discussed the issue with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
Barack Obama told Angela Merkel the US was not monitoring her calls and would not in future, the White House said.
However, it left open the question of whether calls had been listened to in the past.
French President Francois Hollande had already called for the issue to be put on the agenda of the summit – where EU leaders are due to discuss Europe’s digital economy, economic recovery and immigration – following reports that millions of French calls had been monitored.
Angela Merkel has called President Barack Obama after receiving information that the US may have spied on her mobile phone.
A spokesman for Angela Merkel said the German Chancellor “views such practices… as completely unacceptable”.
Angela Merkel has called on US officials to clarify the extent of their surveillance in Germany.
The White House said President Barack Obama had told Chancellor Merkel the US was not snooping on her communications.
“The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Angela Merkel has called President Barack Obama after receiving information that the US may have spied on her mobile phone
Jay Carney told reporters that Washington was examining concerns from Germany as well as France and other American allies over US intelligence practices.
The call comes a day after US intelligence chief James Clapper denied reports that American spies had recorded data from 70 million phone calls in France in a single 30-day period.
James Clapper said a report in Le Monde newspaper contained “misleading information”.
The German government would not elaborate over how it gained its information about alleged US spying on its leader’s communications.
German news magazine Der Spiegel, which has published stories based on material from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, said the information had come from its investigations.
Berlin demanded “an immediate and comprehensive explanation” from Washington about what it said “would be a serious breach of trust”.
“Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government,” the statement.
The statement said that Angela Merkel had told Barack Obama: “Such practices must be prevented immediately.”
The US has also seen other allies angry over spying concerns.
Intelligence chief James Clapper has denied reports that US spies recorded data from 70 million phone calls in France in a single 30-day period.
Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper said the report in French newspaper Le Monde contained “misleading information”.
In a separate story, Le Monde said the US bugged French diplomats and used the information to sway a key UN vote.
Both reports were based on leaks from former NSA employee Edward Snowden.
“Recent articles published in the French newspaper Le Monde contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding US foreign intelligence activities,” James Clapper said in a statement released on Tuesday.
“The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million <<recordings of French citizens’ telephone data>> is false.”
James Clapper said he would not discuss details of surveillance activities, but acknowledged “the United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations”.
His statement did not mention the second set of allegations about the NSA programmes that allegedly monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN.
Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper disputes Le Monde allegations NSA collected 70 million recordings of French citizens’ telephone data
The paper laid out how US spies used computer bugs and phone-tapping techniques to monitor French diplomats at the UN and in Washington.
German magazine Der Spiegel had previously reported the monitoring of French diplomats, and the Washington Post had revealed the existence of a global cyber-spying programme called Genie.
But Le Monde‘s story gives details of how US agents used the intelligence, apparently gathered from French diplomats under the Genie programme.
The newspaper quotes a document issued by a directorate of the NSA as stating that the data helped the US sway a Security Council vote on a resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran on 9 June 2010.
The US had apparently feared losing the vote, and needed French support.
The document quotes America’s former UN envoy Susan Rice as saying the NSA’s information helped the US “keep one step ahead in the negotiations”.
On Monday, Le Monde alleged that the NSA spied on 70.3 million phone calls in France between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he had asked for a full explanation of those claims from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Laurent Fabius told reporters he had reiterated the view of France that “this kind of spying conducted on a large scale by the Americans on its allies is something that is unacceptable”.
However, French officials played down the possibility of any reprisals.
Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said: “We have to have a respectful relationship between partners, between allies. Our confidence in that has been hit but it is after all a very close, individual relationship that we have.”
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was speaking before Le Monde‘s allegations about the UN vote were published.
Information leaked by Edward Snowden has led to claims of systematic spying by the NSA and CIA on a global scale.
Targets included rivals like China and Russia, as well as allies like the EU and Brazil.
The NSA has spied on French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, according to the latest claims in Le Monde newspaper.
NSA internal memos obtained by Le Monde detailed the use of a sophisticated surveillance programme, known as Genie.
US spies allegedly hacked foreign networks, introducing the spyware into the software, routers and firewalls of millions of machines.
It comes a day after claims the NSA tapped millions of phones in France.
The details in the latest Le Monde article are based on leaks from ex-intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, through Glen Greenwald, the outgoing Guardian journalist, who is feeding the material from Brazil.
It comes on the day the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is in London meeting foreign counterparts to discuss Syria.
The Le Monde report sets out details of Genie, an NSA surveillance programme in which spyware implants were introduced remotely to overseas computers, including foreign embassies.
The NSA has spied on French diplomats in Washington and at the UN
The newspaper claims bugs were introduced to the French Embassy in Washington (under a code name “Wabash”) and to the computers of the French delegation at the UN, codenamed “Blackfoot”.
The article suggests that in 2011, the US allocated $652 million in funding for the programme, which was spent on “spy implants”. Tens of millions of computers were reported to have been hacked that year.
A document dated August 2010 suggests intelligence stolen from foreign embassy computers ensured the US knew ahead of time the positions of other Security Council members, before a UN vote for a resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran.
The US was worried the French were drifting to the Brazilian side – who were opposed to implementing sanctions – when in truth they were always aligned to the US position.
The intelligence agency quotes Susan Rice, then-US ambassador to the UN, who praises the work done by the NSA: “It helped me know… the truth, and reveal other [countries’] positions on sanctions, allowing us to keep one step ahead in the negotiations.”
On Monday, Le Monde alleged that the NSA spied on 70.3 million phone calls in France between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013.
At a breakfast meeting with the US secretary of state on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius demanded a full explanation.
Referring to a telephone call between the French and US presidents, Laurent Fabius told reporters: “I said again to John Kerry what Francois Hollande told Barack Obama, that this kind of spying conducted on a large scale by the Americans on its allies is something that is unacceptable.”
Asked if France was considering reprisals against the US, government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem replied: “It is up to Foreign Minister Fabius to decide what line we take but I don’t think there is any need for an escalation.
“We have to have a respectful relationship between partners, between allies. Our confidence in that has been hit but it is after all a very close, individual relationship that we have.”
Both French officials made their comments before the latest revelations appeared in Le Monde.
Edward Snowden, a former NSA worker, went public with revelations about US spying operations in June.
The information Edward Snowden’s leaked led to claims of systematic spying by the NSA and CIA on a global scale.
Targets included rivals like China and Russia, as well as allies like the EU and Brazil.
Private First Class Bradley Manning has apologized for hurting the US by leaking a trove of classified government documents to WikiLeaks.
At a sentencing hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland, Bradley Manning, 25, said he had mistakenly believed he could “change the world for the better”.
And he said that in retrospect, he should have worked “inside the system”.
Bradley Manning faces up to 90 years in prison following his conviction in July on 20 espionage and other charges.
In an unsworn statement at the hearing in the sentencing phase of his court martial, Bradley Manning said: “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that it hurt the United States.
“I’m apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me.”
Last month, military Judge Colonel Denise Lind convicted Private Bradley Manning of 20 charges including espionage, theft and violating computer regulations.
Bradley Manning had already admitted passing hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks while stationed in Iraq in 2010, saying in a pre-trial hearing he had leaked the secret files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
In his brief statement on Wednesday, Bradley Manning said he had come to realize he should have worked “more aggressively inside the system” to make the changes he sought.
“When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things.”
Bradley Manning also said he understood he must “pay a price” for his actions, but hoped one day to go to university and have a meaningful relationship with his sister and other family members.
Bradley Manning has apologized for hurting the US by leaking a trove of classified government documents to WikiLeaks
The sentencing phase of the trial has focused on how much damage the WikiLeaks revelations caused. The prosecution has called witnesses who described the impact on US diplomatic relations and on the military’s dealings with Afghan civilians, among other effects.
Bradley Manning has said he never intended to harm US national security.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the organization that received and published the leaked documents, WikiLeaks, said the statement was “extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system”.
“Mr. Manning’s forced decision to apologize to the US government in the hope of shaving a decade or more off his sentence must be regarded with compassion and understanding,” the anti-secrecy group said.
Ahead of Bradley Manning’s statement, Navy Capt. David Moulton, a psychiatrist, testified that at the time of the leak he felt abandoned by friends and family and had hit a rough patch with his boyfriend amid an isolating deployment.
The psychiatrist interviewed Bradley Manning for 21 hours after his arrest.
Bradley Manning had also decided he wanted to become a woman, Capt. David Moulton said.
In psychiatric terms, Bradley Manning has a “gender identity disorder”, or “disturbance of one’s gender”, Capt. David Moulton said.
This is different from being gay, he added.
“Gender is very much at the core of our identity,” he said, adding that when a person is uncertain about his or her gender, the whole world seems “off-keel”.
Bradley Manning referred to these issues in his statement, saying they were “ongoing” and “a considerable difficulty in my life” but no excuse for his actions.
Amid this turmoil, Bradley Manning also became disillusioned about the US War in Iraq and was trying to correct “injustices”, Capt. David Moulton said.
“Manning was under the impression that the leaked information was going to change how the world saw the war in Iraq,” the psychiatrist testified.
He added that Bradley Manning believed the leaks would ultimately end all war, and the young soldier was unclear about the extent of the punishment he would face for his actions.
“He underestimated how much trouble he would get in, for sure,” Capt. David Moulton said.
“He was really relying on his morals and his ideology and not thinking beyond that.”
Separately, an Army psychotherapist, who treated Bradley Manning while he was in Iraq, said he had begun the process to remove him from the military.
“He was having issues at work,” Capt. Michael Worsley said, adding Bradely Manning’s job as an intelligence analyst had made him even more isolated and anxious.
During treatment, the soldier sent Capt. Michael Worsley an email describing his desire to become a woman and his hopes military life would “get rid of it”, attaching a photo of himself with a blond wig and makeup.
Bradley Manning’s sister and aunt are also on the list of potential defense witnesses.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy.
Bradley Manning, 25, has been found guilty of 20 charges in total, including theft and computer fraud.
He had admitted leaking the documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks but said he did so to spark a debate on US foreign policy.
The leak is considered the largest ever of secret US government files.
Bradley Manning faces a maximum sentence up to 136 years. His sentencing hearing is set to begin on Wednesday.
In addition to multiple espionage counts, he was also found guilty of five theft charges, two computer fraud charges and multiple military infractions.
Bradley Manning stood and faced Judge Colonel Denise Lind as she read the decision on Tuesday. She said she would release detailed written findings at a later date.
He appeared to not react during the verdict, but his defense lawyer, David Coombs, smiled faintly as the not guilty charge on aiding the enemy was read.
Private Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted of espionage but not of aiding the enemy
“We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,” his defense lawyer, David Coombs said of the sentencing phase.
“Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.”
Being found guilty of aiding the enemy could have had serious implications for people leaking documents in the future.
“The government’s pursuit of the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge was a serious overreach of the law, not least because there was no credible evidence of Manning’s intent to harm the USA by releasing classified information to WikiLeaks,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Among the items sent to WikiLeaks by Pte. Bradley Manning was graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.
The documents also included 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 secure state department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.
Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US.
During the court martial, prosecutors said Bradley Manning systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents in order to gain notoriety.
With his training as an intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning should have known the leaked documents would become available to al-Qaeda operatives, they argued.
The defense characterized him as a naive and young soldier who had become disillusioned during his time in Iraq.
His actions, David Coombs argued, were those of a whistle-blower.
In a lengthy statement during a pre-trial hearing in February, Bradley Manning said he had leaked the files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.
Bradley Manning’s supporters rallied outside the court in Fort Meade and said they are planning to march to the White House on Tuesday evening.
Huawei has denied claims made by former CIA chief Michael Hayden that it has spied for the Chinese government.
Michael Hayden was quoted by the Australian Financial Review as saying that it was his “professional judgment” that the firm supplied intelligence to China.
However, Huawei said the claims were “unsubstantiated” and “defamatory”.
Huawei, one of the world’s biggest telecom equipment makers, has faced increased scrutiny in recent times.
Last year, US politicians claimed that the company posed a security threat because of its alleged links to China’s government and military.
Huawei has denied claims made by former CIA chief Michael Hayden that it has spied for the Chinese government
On Thursday, the UK government said that it would review Huawei’s involvement in a cybersecurity centre.
The concerns over its association with the Chinese authorities have been driven in part, by the fact that the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army.
However, Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims and has stressed that it is 98.6%-owned by its employees.
In an article published by the Australian Financial Review, Michael Hayden claimed that Western intelligence agencies had information about Huawei’s “clandestine activities”.
Michael Hayden was quoted as saying that Huawei at a minimum had “shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with”.
However, Scott Sykes, head of international media affairs for Huawei, said that these remarks were “sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage – industrial and otherwise – that demand serious discussion globally”.
The United States accuses China’s government and military of targeting its government computers as part of a cyber espionage campaign, a US report on China says.
Intrusions were focused on collecting intelligence on US diplomatic, economic and defense sectors which could benefit China’s own defense programme, the report says.
This is the first time the Pentagon’s annual report has directly linked such attacks to the Beijing government.
China called the report “groundless”, saying it represented “US distrust”.
A report from state news agency Xinhua cited Sr. Col Wang Xinjun, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) researcher, describing the report as “irresponsible and harmful to the mutual trust between the two countries”.
Both China and the US were victims of cybercrimes and should work together to tackle the problems, the agency quoted him as saying.
The Pentagon report also criticizes a “lack of transparency” in China’s military modernization programme and defense spending.
“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” the report from the US Department of Defense said.
Pentagon’s annual report has directly linked cyber attacks on US government computers to the Beijing government
The attacks were focused on “exfiltrating information” that “could potentially be used to benefit China’s defense industry, high technology industries… and military planners,” it said.
It added that this was particularly concerning because the “skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks”.
While China has long been suspected of a role in cyber attacks, the US has generally avoided publicly attributing attacks to the Chinese government, or confirming that US government computers have been targeted.
But the issue has come under increased scrutiny in recent months.
In February, US cyber security firm Mandiant said that it had linked hundreds of data breaches since 2004 to a Chinese hacking team traced to the site of a military unit in Shanghai.
China called the Mandiant report flawed, and said it was opposed to cyber-crime.
The report also analyses China’s progress in modernizing its military and says that a “lack of transparency” about its military capabilities has heightened regional tensions.
China announced in March that its annual defense budget was $114 billion, an increase of 10.4%.
However, the Pentagon estimated that China’s total military expenditure in 2012 was higher, between $135 billion and $215 billion.
China launched its first aircraft carrier in 2012, and is also investing in ballistic missiles, counter-space weapons and military cyberspace systems, the report said.
Defense Department official David Helvey said that while none of the individual weapons systems were an issue, the “integration and overlapping nature” of the systems left the department “concerned”.
They could boost China’s ability to restrict access to, and military operations in, the Western Pacific, he said.
David Helvey said the report also found that China had “increased assertiveness with respect to its maritime territorial claims” over the past year.
China has territorial disputes with many of its neighbors, including in both the South China Sea and East China Sea.