The government of Switzerland said Monday that it was investigating whether the United States had conducted illegal spying operations within its jurisdiction.
The Swiss ministry said that US contacts asked for permission in 2007 to conduct an intelligence operation, but were denied “due to a lack of legal basis.”
However, a recently leaked US State Department cable showed that intelligence gathering had been afoot in Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland without those governments’ permissions.
Swiss officials said Monday that they were seeking information on such a program being operated out of the US embassy in Geneva, citing a report by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that showed US surveillance in the country as early as Oct. 2005.
The document noted that US officials had taken photos of political rallies and compiled dossiers on people thought to pose risks to embassy security.
The Swiss called for an immediate halt to any further US intelligence gathering operations in the country.
One lawmaker, the Green Party’s Josef Lang, even called for US agents to be expelled from Switzerland.
US diplomats first came under significant criticism after The Guardian, armed with a leaked diplomatic cable, revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered spying operations carried out against the United Nations, continuing a policy that began under the administration of President George W. Bush.
Data sought included unusual information like the makeup of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s DNA, telephone records, Internet usernames and passwords and other highly invasive details.
“The intelligence gathering directives on the UN and other countries were sent from the intelligence operations office within the state department’s bureau of intelligence and research, which describes itself as ‘at the nexus of intelligence and foreign policy’,” the paper later reported.
Other information sought included credit card numbers, frequent flier accounts, Internet protocol addresses, contact lists, social networks and even specific times calls were placed, The Guardian added.
Specific individuals were targeted, the paper added, through a State Department partnership with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The spy agency ultimately gave US diplomats marching orders for their various intelligence operations.
“New cables released last night also reveal that Washington has called for diplomats in Romania, Hungary and Slovenia to provide ‘biometric’ information on ‘current and emerging leaders and advisors’ as well as information about ‘corruption among senior officials’ information about leaders’ health and ‘vulnerability’,” they continued.
American officials insisted they’d broken no laws, calling the information merely part of their standard efforts to safeguard US foreign missions.
‘Call the mall cops!’ Roy Moore roasted after saying he’ll make ‘more personal contact with people’ in Senate run
Roy Moore, the far-right politician who infamously lost an Alabama Senate race in 2017 after allegations emerged about him molesting teenage girls, announced on Thursday that he was going to once again run for office in 2020.
While touting his potential rematch with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Moore was asked by a reporter what he will do differently this time around.
"I would like to make more personal contact with people," Moore responded.
Given that Moore's history of "personal contact" with underage women was what cost him the 2017 Senate race -- and even allegedly got him banned from a shopping mall that grew weary of his regular efforts to pick up teen girls -- Moore was quickly buried in ridicule on Twitter.
Trump ‘lit his own house on fire’ by pulling out of Iran nuclear deal: International relations expert
Kelly Magsamen, the VP of National Security and International Policy for the Center for American Progress explained during an MSNBC interview Thursday that the president is causing his own problems with Iran.
Speaking to host Ali Velshi, Magsamen said that it was Trump who "lit his own house on fire" when he breached the Iran treaty known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"I think we are definitely in the middle of an escalatory (sic) cycle, and how do we get out of it," Magsamen told the host. "And unfortunately, the White House has left itself very few options in terms of escalating or de-escalating and same for the Iranians, frankly. [The Iranians] probably perceive this as an attack from their perspective."
Former Marco Rubio adviser slams the senators’ humiliating transformation into a ‘Trump fan-boy’
Max Boot is well known as a conservative anti-Trump columnist for the Washington Post, but he was also a foreign policy adviser for Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. And in a new piece on Thursday, Boot revealed just how depressing he finds Rubio’s “humiliating transformation into a Trump fan-boy.”
Rubio’s support for the president came under new scrutiny this week after he appeared at Donald Trump’s recent rally in Orlando and tweeted an enthusiastic endorsement: