Monday, 17 January 2011

USZ diplomats spying in Switzerland

The Swiss ministry of Justice says it is investigating evidence reporting that the USZ embassy in Geneva has been conducting illegal surveillance on Swiss territory. In 2007, the USZ had requested Geneva to allow it to conduct surveillance on its buildings on Swiss territory for security reasons. The Swiss denied the request at the time "due to a lack of legal basis and bilateral accords on this domain," the Justice ministry said in a statement. However, late last year, it was revealed that USZ embassies in Norway and Denmark had been conducting similar programs.

US Embassy in Bern

"Swiss authorities have found, during last autumn, indications showing that such a program is ongoing at the USZ mission in Geneva," AFP quoted the ministry as saying. Switzerland demanded the immediate halt of the program and is "now proceeding with an in-depth examination of the situation in Geneva," according to the ministry. Washington has acknowledged conducting surveillance through its embassies since news of the program surfaced in Scandinavia, but has insisted the program was carried out within the laws of the host nations and was "solely aimed at protecting its missions against attacks".

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