10.06.13 23:30Why spy?:US security snooping scandal unnerves Swiss - swissinfoPage 1 sur 3http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/US_security_snooping_scandal_unnerves_Swiss.html?view=print&cid=36112760
US security snooping scandal unnerves Swiss
International Service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation
by Matthew Allen, swissinfo.chJune 10, 2013 - 19:27
Revelations of contentious computer hacking activities by United Statesgovernment agents have raised hackles about allegedly dubious behaviour of USoperatives on Swiss soil and questions about the safety of personal andeconomic data.
Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, while admitting that the latest reports wouldnot make relations with the US any easier, told Swiss public radio on Monday eveningthat it was important to “keep calm”.Relations between the two countries are already strained over an on-going tax evasionrow. Switzerland is faced with a US ultimatum to hand over confidential banking datawhich has provoked strong feelings among politicians and the general population.Lurid and so-far unverified tales from a whistle-blower about US intelligence agents recruiting a Swiss banker afterengineering a drink driving incident have only stoked the simmering tension.
“What is really very serious is that [US] agents are active on foreign territory, and violatethe laws of the country where they are,” former Swiss parliamentarian and prosecutorDick Marty told public radio on Monday.“This is not the first time they have done this, and I must say that they have beenspoiled by the Swiss. For too long Switzerland has tolerated CIA agents doing more orless whatever they wanted on our territory.”Former National Security Agency employee turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden,has claimed in media interviews that he was stationed in Geneva with diplomatic coverwhen he first became aware of intrusive global snooping techniques.His evidence that the NSA employs an intrusive computer programme known as Prismto snoop on people all over the world has fuelled a public row in the US, Britain andother countries. Prism is alleged to gather data from telephone companies and powerfulonline platforms such as Google.Burkhalter said the news that Snowden had worked as a CIA agent was “a surprise”,and that his department had learned about it from the newspapers“Should it be true, it would be a violation of the Vienna Convention [on diplomaticrelations],” he added, but pointed out that so far there was no proof.
Edward Snowden revealed US snooping activities to the public(Keystone)
Edward Snowden, 29, leaked documents of the NSA’ssurveillance techniques to journalists after becomingdisillusioned with the tactics of the intelligence agency. The allegations included in the documents showed theNSA employing a code called Prism to target data ofcitizens all over the world. Internet giants such as Google and Microsoft have issueddenials to claims that they allowed the NSA access tosensitive client data. The NSA have said the data isneeded to combat terrorism and is overseen and controlledby the US government. Snowden fled to Hong Kong and was interviewed there bythe British Guardian newspaper – the story was releasedon Sunday. In the interview, Snowden said he worked for the CIA inGeneva in 2007 under the guise of a diplomat. It was here,he said, that he first encountered the scale of the snoopingoperation. He also described how the CIA recruited a Geneva bankerby purposely getting him drunk and then helping him afterhe was arrested whilst driving.