BERLIN Jan 26 The U.S. National Security Agency
is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any
intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to
national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a
German TV network.
In text released ahead of a lengthy interview to be
broadcast on Sunday, ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does
not limit its espionage to issues of national security and he
cited German engineering firm, Siemens as one target.
"If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S.
national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with
national security - then they'll take that information
nevertheless," Snowden said, according to ARD, which recorded
the interview in Russia where he has claimed asylum.
Snowden also told the German public broadcasting network he
no longer has possession of any documents or information on NSA
activities and has turned everything he had over to select
He said he did not have any control over the publication of
the information, ARD said.
Questions about U.S. government spying on civilians and
foreign officials burst into the open last June when Snowden,
leaked documents outlining the widespread collection of
telephone records and email.
The revelations shocked Germany, a country especially
sensitive after the abuses by the Gestapo during the Nazi reign
and the Stasi in Communist East Germany during the Cold War.
Reports the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile
phone have added to the anger in Germany, which has been pushing
for a 'no-spy' agreement with the United States, a country it
considers to be among its closest allies.
Snowden's claim the NSA is engaged in industrial espionage
follows a New York Times report earlier this month that the NSA
put software in almost 100,000 computers around the world,
allowing it to carry out surveillance on those devices and could
provide a digital highway for cyberattacks.
The NSA planted most of the software after gaining access to
computer networks, but has also used a secret technology that
allows it entry even to computers not connected to the Internet,
the newspaper said, citing U.S. officials, computer experts and
documents leaked by Snowden.
The newspaper said the technology had been in use since at
least 2008 and relied on a covert channel of radio waves
transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards secretly
inserted in the computers.
Frequent targets of the programme, code-named Quantum,
included units of the Chinese military and industrial targets.
Snowden faces criminal charges after fleeing to Hong Kong
and then Russia, where he was granted at least a year's asylum.
He was charged with theft of government property,
unauthorised communication of national security information and
giving classified intelligence data to an unauthorised person.
(Editing by Sophie Hares)