Citing leaked NSA documents, European publications publish fresh allegations of U.S. spying
Outraged European officials are demanding answers from the United States
Ecuador's president says Vice President Joe Biden asked him not to give Snowden asylum
Amateur filmmakers release the first movie about Snowden
Fresh reports of global espionage. Furious European officials. A plea from the vice president.
The weekend was packed with twists and turns in the case of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and the secret documents he’s leaked.
Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States, is still in Russia and seeking asylum from Ecuador.
Here are some key recent developments that CNN is reporting:
New allegations about U.S. spying
Germany’s Der Spiegel and Britain’s The Guardian have published stories with new claims about U.S. surveillance, citing NSA documents leaked to them by Snowden.
The reports, which CNN has not independently confirmed, include allegations that:
• In Brussels, Belgium, the agency targeted the Justus Lipsius Building, which houses the European Council and the EU Council of Ministers, the union’s main decision-making and legislative body.
• In Washington, Der Spiegel claims, the NSA installed bugs in the European Union’s building and infiltrated its computer network.
• One NSA document leaked by Snowden describes 38 embassies and missions as “targets,” and it details surveillance methods that include planting bugs in communications equipment and collecting transmissions with specialized antennae. Targets included France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey, according to The Guardian.
Outraged European officials ask U.S. for answers
European officials reacted with fury to the reports that the NSA spied on EU offices.
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations,” European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations.”
German officials have said the claims, if true, are reminiscent of the Cold War.
French President Francois Hollande said any U.S. surveillance targeting officials from his country must stop immediately.
U.S. officials have said they’ll address the concerns through diplomatic channels. They haven’t spoken publicly about the specific allegations published by Der Spiegel and The Guardian.
Schumer and McCain: Russia should pay a price for harboring Snowden
Two high-profile senators on Sunday admonished Russia for not handing over Snowden, who’s hiding in Russia as he seeks asylum in Ecuador.
Republican Sen. John McCain said Snowden’s actions amounted to a “slap in the face to the United States” and called President Vladimir Putin “an old colonel KGB apparatchik” who “dreams of the restoration of the Russian Empire.”
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday he’s not sure what should be done to get Snowden back, but Russia should “pay a price” for “doing what they did.”
“(Putin) ought to know he is going to pay a price here because he goes out of his way to stick his finger in the eye of America, whether it is Iran, Syria, and now this,” he said on the same Fox program. “He has got lots of vulnerabilities.”
Biden to Ecuador: Don’t give him asylum
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says he got a phone call from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday. Biden asked him “to please reject” Snowden’s asylum bid, Correa said. The Ecuadorian leader said his country would be cautious about processing Snowden’s asylum request.
“We have to act very carefully but with courage,” he said, “without contradicting our principles but with a lot of care, responsibility and respect, of course, towards the U.S. – but also respect for the truth.”
On Saturday night, Correa said the ball was in Russia’s court.
“In order to process this request, he needs to be in Ecuadorian territory,” Correa said in an interview with Ecuador’s Oromar TV on Saturday night. “At this point, the solution for Snowden’s final destination is in the hands of the Russian authorities.”
Bush slams Snowden, defends NSA surveillance
Former U.S. President George W. Bush sharply criticized Snowden.
“I think he damaged the security of the country,” he said in an exclusive interview with CNN over the weekend.
Asked about an NSA program that tracks people’s Internet activity, Bush said, “I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed.”
Filmmakers release the first Snowden movie
A group of amateur filmmakers in Hong Kong has already filmed a short thriller dramatizing the events that unfolded in the city last month.
The five-minute film was shot over four days, said freelance videographer Edwin Lee, describing it as a “foot-on-the-gas” guerrilla operation. The script was mostly written the day before shooting, and actors had no rehearsal time, he added.
In its first week, the film has garnered more than 60,000 views on YouTube.
The movie ends with the former NSA contractor’s June 23 flight to Moscow. But the world is still waiting for the next chapter in Snowden’s story.
CNN’s Josh Levs, Claudia Rebaza, Michael Martinez, Jethro Mullen and Alexis Lai contributed to this report.