FILE PHOTO: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits troops of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Pabrade, Lithuania September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
June 3, 2021
OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg said on Thursday the United States had given assurances it had stopped spying on its allies in 2014, after Oslo launched a protest against the practice.
Norway called in the U.S. ambassador, she said, after a report that the U.S. National Security Agency had used a partnership with Denmark's foreign intelligence unit to spy on senior officials, including herself.
NATO members Norway and Denmark are close U.S. allies. Denmark hosts several key landing stations for subsea internet cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.
"I am glad that the Americans clearly expressed that they changed their practice in 2014 when it comes to the surveillance of allies and that they would cooperate with us and others to understand what happened," Solberg told news agency NTB.
Defence minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said on Twitter his ministry had had a meeting with the U.S. embassy in Oslo "where we made it clear that spying on allies is unacceptable and unnecessary".
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. embassy.
Solberg said she had also spoken with her Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, about the case on Thursday.
"I reiterated to her that we consider spying on close friends and allies as unacceptable and unnecessary," she said.
Danish state broadcaster DR reported on Sunday the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.