Austrians alarmed by ‘NSA spying center’ in Vienna

Austrians alarmed by ‘NSA spying center’ in Vienna
Sat Sep 14, 2013 07:44:16

Austrians are becoming increasingly worried that the US National Security Agency has established a listening post in the capital Vienna to spy on people.

Austrian opposition parties say a stately villa in a posh district of Vienna serves as a sophisticated US intelligence center, but the US Embassy in the capital claims the building is an "Open Source Center" evaluating information, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

"Whatever it is, it's confirmation of intelligence agency activity in Vienna," political activist Rudolf Fussi said.

Fussi stated that the Austrian government has been cooperating with a foreign intelligence service, which is a crime punishable by a prison term.

Austrian opposition parties have demanded a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the NSA’s alleged use of the heavily guarded villa in Vienna to spy on citizens.

The building is "clearly a US intelligence center and according to our information [belongs to] the NSA," Green party member Peter Pilz said, citing unnamed Austrian government officials.

Reports say the listening post is able to tap up to 70 percent of telecommunications in the Austrian capital.

However, the governments of the US and Austria have denied the reports.

Austrian media outlets are reporting that the US now plans to wrap up operations at the villa within a year or two because its cover has been blown.

In June, Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Snowden also revealed information about NSA espionage activities targeting friendly countries across the world.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, admitted in July that Snowden’s exposés have seriously damaged US ties with other countries. “There has been damage. I don't think we actually have been able to determine the depth of that damage.”


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