EU commission on heightened alert against spying

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An internal note warning staff against spying activities has been circulated within the European Commission.

BRUSSELS – The European Commission said Wednesday it had heightened its alert against spying activities carried out by nations, pressure groups and journalists seeking sensitive information.

In recent days the commission has issued an internal note to alert staff of the problem, a spokeswoman for the EU's executive arm said.

That followed a letter in December from the head of the commission's security service to all policy directors warning of spying risks and urging them to take adequate precautions," said commission spokeswoman Valerie Rampi.

"Like any large-scale organisation which deals with sensitive or confidential information there are always people who endeavour to gain access to this information," she told reporters.

She said that the security chief in his letter had warned that "the threat of espionage against the commission is increasing day by day".

"A number of countries' information seekers, lobbyists, journalists, private agencies and other third parties are continuing to seek sensitive and classified information from the commission," the letter warned.

The warning spoke of "repeated attempts to compromise commission information using intelligence officers or persons directly linked to intelligence services who adopt a range of covers in order to conceal the aggressive nature of their information-gathering," Rampi quoted the letter as saying.

She sought to assuage reporters concerns at being included as suspects.

"We are not only pointing the finger at journalists. It could be the pretty trainee with the long legs and the blonde hair," she said.

[AFP / Expatica]

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