German spying scandal shows scale of problem: Snowden
The scandal over Germany's alleged joint spying with the US on European officials and companies confirms the "massive" scale of international espionage going on, fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden said in comments published in the German press Friday.
"Massive surveillance is a reality. Industrial espionage is practised and the intelligence services are working beyond the control of the representatives of the people and of justice," Snowden told Der Spiegel weekly.
Snowden, 31, a former contractor at the US National Security Agency, has lived in exile in Russia since 2013 after revealing mass spying programs by the United States and its allies.
The US administration has branded him a hacker and a traitor who endangered lives by revealing the extent of the NSA spying program.
Snowden said that when he first made his revelations in 2013, some doubted him.
"Since then, the facts are there," he said.
Snowden said the reported scale of the requests from the NSA to the German BND intelligence service -- German media reports ranged from 25,000 or 12,000 -- "could only exist in the context of massive surveillance," adding that it was time to "attack the problem".
German media have accused the BND of helping the NSA spy on targets such the Airbus Group, the French presidency and European Commission.
The key question has been to what extent the BND willingly cooperated as the NSA broadened its surveillance from potential terrorist threats to European officials and businesses -- and what the government knew.
Germany's opposition kept up its attack on Angela Merkel's government last week, charging that it did nothing to stop its foreign intelligence service from spying for the United States.
© 2015 AFP