NSA engaged in industrial espionage, claims Snowden

NSA engaged in industrial espionage, claims Snowden

Summary: The U.S. did not limit spying to issues of national security, but also tapped corporations such as Siemens for the country's national interests, says former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.


The U.S. National Security Agency engaged in industrial espionage and did not limit its spying to national security issues, claimed its former contractor Edward Snowden, speaking with a German TV network.

Snowden cited German engineering firm Siemens as one target, in his interview with ARD TV, according to Reuters.

"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," said Snowden, in the report. The interview was recorded in Russia, where he has claimed asylum.

The latest allegations are likely to further fray already damaged relations between the U.S. and Germany, following reports that the NSA had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

The news follows Snowden's claims that the NSA embedded software in almost 100,000 computers around the world to carry out its surveillance, according to a New York Times report earlier this month. This was in line with allegations that surfaced last September claiming Brazil's state-owned oil giant had its internal network monitored by the NSA.

Topics: Security, Privacy, IT Security in the Snowden Era


Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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  • NSA should go and kill this guy

    He is probably controlled by Russian FSB, so he deserves to be killed, right now!
    Warren Bigley
    • you server to evil, hope you feel good

      "NSA surveillance does little to prevent terrorism, says think-tank report": "there was only one case out of the 225 that was initiated by NSA evidence. The case involved a cab driver named Basaaly Moalin who was convicted of sending money to Somalian terrorist groups. While successful, the case did not involve any direct threat of attack"

      So the only conclusion is the USA want to keep people and allies under control, nothing else.
      Jiří Pavelec
      • Yeah, a cab driver. Some threat.

        As if a cab driver is even going to know whether a group is on the terrorist list or not. Entirely possible that Basally just thought of the group as a fraternity that helped the poor or something. That's one of the problems with foreign groups. Part of them may be involved with violent actions while other parts have humanitarian purposes.

        Reminds me of a story about my great aunt who sent money back to relatives in Germany who were members of the Nazi party. Easy to be blind to the wrongs and only see the right. Ignorance shouldn't be criminal, unless it's deliberate.
    • Practice what you preach

      Even if he were controlled by FSB, how is that relevant in any way? Fact is, he is disclosing information that a US govt agency is doing precisely what you'd expect to happen in the Soviet Union - and the US govt is not denying the validity of his claims.

      If he deserves to die for working with FSB - which I doubt - you have a lot of assasinations to do, because it's a pretty big organisation, I'd imagine.

      If you truly believe in freedom, then you should be encouraging Snowden to keep on doing what he is doing. If not, then don't call youself an American.
      Esa Nahka
    • He swore to uphold the Costitution

      Why do people like you make it difficult for us who know the Constitution? He did not take an oath too protect State Secrets. He took the same oath anyone who joined the military takes, To protect the Country by both foreign and domestic enemies. The NSA is surely proving too be a domestic enemy of the Constitution, and people like you, enable them too continue by saying stupid things like, "I have nothing to hide, so please steal my freedom."
      I have nothing too hide either, but since I actually understand what the Constitution is about, it does irritate me that it's being shredded by the idiots you keep voting for, protecting US Corporations, and not the people. The Founding Fathers were nothing more than terrorists and traitors, in the eyes of those blind sheep who did nothing.
      "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" - Samuel Adams
      • Oooo. I like that Adams quote.

        Looks like he made that one in 1776.
        • Lot's of great things these men said

          Foundingfatherquotesdotcom, Awesome site. It almost makes me cry that there isn't that kind of passion in our politics anymore.
          "There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!"
          John Hancock: upon signing the Declaration of Independence — 1776

          "The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes."
          Thomas Jefferson: Diffusion of Knowledge Bill, 1779. FE 2:221, Papers 2:526

          "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
          -= Dissertation on First Principles of Government, December 23, 1791 =- Thomas Paine
      • I agree completely

        Well said
    • Snowden

      Snowden is a great hero. And the US of Guns sucks big time!
    • Hogwash

      And there's no need for them to control him. He probably doesn't have any access to their government systems.
    • Killed?

      You are seriously gullible to believe that, and your solution shows just what a N A Z I federalist you are.
  • Russian FSB Lies

    I think anything snowdumb has to say is highly suspect now, he's officially a Russian and people like Ryan shouldn't waste "bits" (instead of ink...) on this traitor, a hero might be some previous whistle blowers that stayed in the US, faced (outcome) and have come out of it being better people. When snowdum took his oath he knew at that time he would betray the USA, there is nothing heroic in putting american lives at risk, nothing heroic in 'selling' your Country out to the highest bidder, nothing Heroic in sabotaging US Intelligence and thereby hurting every American's safety, next time you think of calling this man a hero contrast that with the hundreds of thousands that died for YOU, for your freedoms, for your liberty, for your opportunities, for your children and your ability to purse the future... and yes your right to complain, protest, march, be condescending, loud, and an yes be an idiot.
    • wake up, evil servant

      "NSA surveillance does little to prevent terrorism, says think-tank report": "there was only one case out of the 225 that was initiated by NSA evidence. The case involved a cab driver named Basaaly Moalin who was convicted of sending money to Somalian terrorist groups. While successful, the case did not involve any direct threat of attack" - So the only conclusion is the USA want to keep people and allies under control, nothing else.

      The USA = murders for fun in Afghanistan, New York Post: "President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report (9/11). Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words). A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks."
      Jiří Pavelec
    • Propaganda

      He is American with political asylum in Russia.

      And you think it hurts US citizen that he reveals that the US use there intelligence services to spy on the head of state of FRIENDLY nations? Or that they use the same services for industrial espionage?

      You really either did not read the article or you can't understand the implications.
    • Snowden never sold anything to anybody, including the Russians

      Snowden is a patriotic American who is being persecuted by the NSA, an out-of-control spy agency that is destroying the principles that the United States was founded on. He has been exposing the malfeasance of the NSA to the entire world. If he was 'selling your country out to the highest bidder", he would only be supplying information to whoever "bought" him. Most of all, he is exposing the criminals in the NSA to innocent American people who never committed any crime but are being subjected to illegal unwarranted searches by the NSA.

      As for "hundreds of thousands that died for YOU,...", that is largely nonsense if you are talking about the US military. The US military has not fought "for freedom" anywhere in the world in my lifetime, and I am nearly 59 years old. The Vietnam war was a war to prevent one dictatorship from invading and occupying a country ruled by a military junta (and "we" lost that war.)

      The US military has OVERTHROWN democratically elected leaders in the Dominican Republic and Chile. The US military has fought on the side of the worst military aggressor in the Middle East: Israel, including during their invasion of Lebanon.

      The US invaded Iraq, a country that has NEVER IN ITS HISTORY committed an act of war against the United States. In the process of "liberating" Iraq, a bloody-handed secular dictator was replaced by a "debating society" of those religious terrorist gangs that are willing to pretend to be "pro-US" and a nonstop civil war. And the list goes on and on.

      The only military action that comes anywhere near "fighting for freedom" was the invasion of Afghanistan to "get Bin Laden" after 9/11, but that war quickly turned into a nation-building exercise in replacing a theocratic oligarchy (the Taliban) by a corrupt government run by narcotics dealers (the Karzai regime). Meanwhile, al Qaida, the folks actually RESPONSIBLE for 9/11 were conveniently allowed to sneak off into our "ally" Pakistan.
      • And you know this how?

        I recall that President Putin was publicly reluctant to grant him asylum in the first place. My working hypothesis is that the price for asylum was a through debriefing by the FSB. What's yours?
        John L. Ries
        • We have facts, you probably lie

          We have facts, you probably lie
          wake you, you evil servant.... hope you feel better you work for pure evil, murderers, liars....
          Jiří Pavelec
  • Sparse

    Kinda sparse on details. What exactly did the NSA do with this information? Did it pass it on to U.S. corporations to help them develop new products or for strategic planning purposes? Or was this information used internally, somehow, by the NSA? This article doesn't really say. I mean spying in foreign corporations, per se, isn't necessarily ill advised. I'm old enough to remember that Toshiba, for instance, once sold the Soviet Union milling devices that allowed them to produce far more precise components for their nuclear sub fleet (and allowed the ships to run much quieter). It was a major blow to U.S. strategic interests at the time, and let to targeted U.S. sanctions against Toshiba. OTOH, if the NSA is conducting industrial espionage operations on behalf of U.S. corporations against their foreign competitors, then that's a major blow to U.S. credibility in economic matters and could do huge damage to the U.S. tech sector.
  • Spying on foreign companies does make sense

    Most of your military technology is going to be developed and manufactured by private companies. You can't defend against them if you don't know they exist and how they work.
  • Old News!!

    Some time ago it came out that NSA had coerced the Canadian spy agency to do industrial spying for them in places they couldn't go
    just one of many links