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2000 11 20 * Ekstra Bladet * Echelon sets its sights on Europe * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

France and the rest of Europe have good reasons to be worried: The US spies are well-trained to do their spying in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian

  

Today, Ekstra Bladet can document that NSA and Echelon are targeted on European interests.

For several months now, we have had access to a gigantic database used by US intelligence professionals when they apply for jobs in the private sector after their tour of duty as spies for the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. A total of 1303 intelligence professionals have put their CV's online in the database. A frightening picture of the US's espionage system emerges from the CV's.

The official purpose of the US intelligence systems, the largest of which is Echelon, is to keep an eye on the Arabic countries, the Chinese and the North Koreans. But reality tells its own tale: We had the nerve to review all 1303 CV's and count the number of languages in which the spies themselves profess to be fluent. A very clear trend emerges: Almost four times as many spies speak German as they do Arabic. The number of French-speaking spies outnumber those who speak Arabic three to one.

And the number of spies who specify Italian as their specialty equals the number of spies who are fluent in Chinese.

In general, the database provides an impressive overview of the west European languages in which the US spies profess to be fluent: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Czech, Swedish, Greek, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and Finnish. The trend is very clear: the US espionage services have set their sights on Europe.

This is also underpinned by Ekstra Bladet's previous disclosures on March 21 this year. To be specific, the disquieting revelation by Canadian Echelon agent Fred Stock that the NSA - via the Canadian Echelon service - designated Europe as a surveillance target in 1990, one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"As early as 1987, I saw increasing numbers of reports dealing with Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and other European allies," said Fred Stock at the time to Ekstra Bladet.

All 1303 intelligence professionals in the database are actively working in various segments of the US intelligence services today or have been within recent years.

The job descriptions cover the entire intelligence service spectrum from translators and analysts to computer programmers and security professionals.

Several state that they are or have been stationed at embassies around the world and at the Echelon stations in Bad Aibling in Germany, Menwith Hill in England or similar stations in places like Australia, New Zealand and Japan.