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Germany and EU targets for US espionage, Spiegel reports

A secret list leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden reveals that Germany is among countries targeted by the US intelligence services, the news magazine Spiegel reports. The EU is also listed as a target.

Spiegel reported on Saturday that the list issued secretly by the US National Security Agency in April 2013 classifies Germany as being of only medium interest to US intelligence.

According to the magazine, the document ranked countries on a scale of 1 (highest interest) to 5 (lowest interest). Germany was positioned in the middle, more or less at the same level as France and Japan, but in front of countries such as Italy and Spain, it said.

The foremost targets for US espionage were China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Afghanistan, according to the magazine.

Spiegel reported that different sectors also had varying priority. In Germany, for example, questions of foreign policy and economic stability were ranked at 3, arms exports, new technologies and international trade at 4, and Germany's counter-espionage and potential for carrying out cyber-attacks on US infrastructure at 5, the magazine said.

According to the Spiegel report, Germany is one of some 30 countries listed as "third-class" partners on the list.

The European Union is also a target, Spiegel reported, coming in at priority 3 in the list.

The list is among documents leaked by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who since June has caused an international sensation with growing revelations on the extent of US surveillance throughout the world. Snowden, 30, who is on the run from US authorities, has been granted a year's asylum in Russia.

The US has been angered by Russia's protection of Snowden with US President Barack Obama canceling a scheduled September summit with his counterpart Vladimir Putin in response.

Obama announced on Friday evening that he intended to impose stricter controls on US intelligence services and ensure more transparency with new and concrete legislation. However, he continued to stress the importance of the NSA for US security, particularly in the fight against terrorism.

tj/lw (dpa, Reuters)