NSA monitored 33m phone calls in Norway: Snowden
Iran Press TV
Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:53AM GMT
The United States National Security Agency (NSA) has monitored 33 million mobile conversations in Norway in the course of just one month, US whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has said.
Classified document seen by Norway's Dagbladet newspaper revealed that the NSA registered a total of 33,186,042 conversations on Norwegian soil just between December 10, 2012 and January 8, 2013.
According to reports, the conversations were not listened to by US spy agents and the length of the conversations and where the actual telephones were geographically located at the time were registered instead.
The leaked documents, entitled "Norway - Last 30 days", showed that Norway had the highest number of communications registered in relation to its population (currently just over 5 million).
"It is unacceptable that the US has conducted surveillance of roughly 10 percent of the entire Norwegian population," said Bjorn Erik Thon, director of Datatilsynet, the government agency responsible to ensure Norwegians' privacy.
He added that the US government violated basic human rights to privacy.
"We didn't know anything about this", former state secretary Hans Kristian Amundsen also told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), adding that the extent of the inspection was a "big a surprise".
In June, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs, which revealed that the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data.
The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about the organization's espionage activities targeting friendly countries.
The US embassy officials claimed they could not comment on the recent leaks, saying the US "gathers intelligence overseas just like all countries do."
Nowrway is geographically and strategically an important country for the US, because of its vast oil industry and wealth, and its shared border with Russia.
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