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Austrian interior, defense ministers admit cooperation with NSA

November 20, 2013, 17:31 UTC+3 20

Country's Interior Minister approved of the idea to establish a European system to ensure database security

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Johanna Mikl-Leitner

Johanna Mikl-Leitner

© AP/Hans Punz/dapd

VIENNA, November 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Austrian Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Defense Minister Gerald Klug admitted in parliament Wednesday Austria’s special service had been cooperating with foreign intelligence agencies, including the US National Security Agency.

Austrian services were interacting with foreign intelligence services, among them the NSA, in certain cases to implement their tasks, Klug said. He admitted the special services now faced a dilemma.

“On the one hand, we benefit from cooperation with other special services, but on the other hand, we need answers about data collection in Austria on a scale we had been unaware of two weeks ago,” he said.

However, Klug denied the opposition’s accusations the Defense Ministry’s intelligence service had assisted the NSA in collecting data in the country.

“Military intelligence does not operate in the country, we do not spy on citizens, we do not tap web channels to collect information and, accordingly, we cannot transfer data that we simply do not have,” Klug said.

Mikl-Leitner, who is also head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, approved of the idea to establish a European system to ensure database security. At least all e-mails circulating within the EU should be processed and go only through European servers without leaving the continent, she said.

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