Denies US was snooping, says there was only computer analysis of pattern of calls to wage war against terrorism.
New Delhi : India on Tuesday sought to play down reports of the US spying at diplomatic missions, including at the Indian embassy in Washington, saying it was merely a “computer study of phone call patterns” and the issue was discussed during the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry last week.
“It is not actually snooping. This is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is currently in Brunei to attend a series of ASEAN meetings, told reporters.
Khurshid even furnished an alibi for the Americans. “Some of the information they (the US) got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries,” he said. The ministry had said earlier that it would be “unacceptable” if it is revealed that the cyber snooping has infringed on the privacy laws of Indian citizens.
Khurshid further said India and the US have had a cyber security dialogue but as far as he was concerned there are no issues at stake.
“There are issues that America is looking at. We discussed it during Kerry’s visit. Kerry and (US President Barack) Obama have clarified, there is some information that they get out of scrutiny and they use it for terrorism purposes.”
According to media reports, US spies had eavesdropped on 38 missions, including Indian embassy. Bugs were planted in building, special transmission antennae were used and computer security was compromised as [art of this surveillance exercise. Some of these embassies were of allies and others of ‘sensitive’ nations.
Earlier reports have said American Intelligence also spied on European diplomats in EU buildings in Washington DC.
US WIL NOT APOLOGISE: The United States, which is facing a backlash from its own allies and partners for bugging their embassies, will not apologise and has contended that it gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.
“While we’re not going to comment publicly on the specifics of alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we’ve made clear that the US gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” the State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, told reporters at his daily news conference.
“We have a strong relationship with a number of these countries…. We have strong partnerships and based on shared values with a number of these countries, and we’ll continue to have that discussion in diplomatic channels,” Ventrell said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Washington has not responded to an email sent by PTI inquiring if it is aware of the embassy being bugged by the United States and if the issue has been raised by the Ambassador with the US officials.