July 1 - Europeans are outraged and looking for explanations following reports of extensive U.S. surveillance programs. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Outrage in Europe as news breaks in Germany's Der Spiegel that the US may have bugged EU offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Brunei downplayed the report. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING "I will say that every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security, and all kinds of information contributes to that, and all I know is that is not unusual for lots of nations." In Brussels EU spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde says they are waiting for answers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON, PIA AHRENKILDE HANSEN, SAYING: " These are disturbing news if proven true, they demand full clarification" The magazine also reported that the U.S. secret service taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany similar to the data tapped in China or Iraq. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL'S SPOKESMAN, STEFFEN SEIBERT SAYING: "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations (of the European Union) were spied upon then it would be absolutely unacceptable for us. At the moment we and our European partners are trying to find a clear and definite standpoint on this." Revelations about the U.S. surveillance program, which was made public by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has sparked debate over the balance between privacy and national security.