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Home News Switzerland still waiting for US answers in Snowden case

Switzerland still waiting for US answers in Snowden case

Published on 27/06/2013

Switzerland said Thursday it was still waiting for a satisfactory response from Washington to its enquiries about an alleged CIA blackmail operation to spy on the Alpine country's banks, exposed by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

To date, the Americans have only provided a "very diplomatic" response to a Swiss request earlier this month for "clarification" about the allegations, Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter told reporters.

"They have answered that they have respected Swiss law and that they have never done anything of any sort that is problematic," he was quoted as saying by the ATS news agency.

"We have decided to continue the discussions with the Americans about this pending question," he said, adding that "for them, though, it is obvious that there wasn’t a problem."

Snowden, a former contractor for the US intelligence agency NSA who leaked sensational details of US surveillance to the media, was accredited as a diplomatic attache at the US permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva from March 2007 to February 2009.

The 30-year-old IT technician and fugitive from US justice, who is holed up at a Moscow airport apparently without the travel documents needed to move on, has said his diplomatic role in Geneva was a cover for his work for the US intelligence agency, the CIA.

He alleged that during this time, there had been an operation in which an agent made friends with a banker, got him drunk so he would be stopped for driving while intoxicated, and then helped him escape legal action.

In exchange, the man allegedly spied on Swiss banks to garner data for US tax authorities on money stashed abroad by Americans.