NSA 'engaged in industrial espionage' - Snowden

Edward Snowden Mr Snowden's defenders say his leaks were in the public interest but many Americans consider him a traitor

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has alleged the National Security Agency engaged in industrial espionage.

In an interview with Germany's ARD TV channel, the former NSA contractor said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.

Mr Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum by Russia, also said he believed that US officials wanted to kill him.

His leaks caused outrage in Germany when it came to light Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone had been bugged.

After the row broke out last year, Mrs Merkel accused the US of an unacceptable breach of trust.

Last week President Barack Obama indicated to Germany's ZDF TV that US bugging of Mrs Merkel's mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.

How intelligence is gathered

How intelligence is gathered
  • Accessing internet company data
  • Tapping fibre optic cables
  • Eavesdropping on phones
  • Targeted spying

Mr Snowden's new allegation about industrial spying may make it harder to rebuild trans-Atlantic trust, the BBC's Stephen Evans reports from Berlin.

Referring to the German engineering company Siemens, Mr Snowden told ARD: "If there is information at Siemens that they [the NSA] think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it."

He also said he believed US agents want to kill him, referring to an article published by the Buzzfeed website in which intelligence operatives are quoted as saying they want to see him dead.

In August Russia granted Mr Snowden asylum for one year, after he leaked details of US electronic surveillance programmes.

The US has charged Mr Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Earlier this week he said he has "no chance" of a fair trial in the US and has no plans to return there.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US and Canada stories

RSS

Business Live

  1.  
    Via Twitter Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    Forget the IFS, the Pasty Index is in - Greggs sales up 4.5%, always a good barometer of consumer confidence. @bbckamal

     
  2.  
    Via Twitter Robert Peston Economics editor

    tweets: "Living standards back to where they were in 2007-8, but mainly for those over 60. & are rising strongly now, says IFS "

     
  3.  
    07:17: ITV results
    ITV

    ITV plans to return £250m to shareholders with a special dividend of 6.25p a share after a bumper 2014, with adjusted pre-tax profits up 23% to £712m and 39% higher at £605m on the pure pre-tax measure. Revenue rose 7% to a shade under £3bn. "ITV is now a high-growth business," says chief executive Adam Crozier.

     
  4.  
    07:06: Eurostar sale BBC Radio 4
    Eurostar

    Gemma Godfrey, head of investment strategy at Brooks Macdonald Asset Management, tells Today that the £757m the Government got for the Eurostar stake was higher than expected, but questions what the proceeds be used to fund. She believes the cash should be used to fund the next generation of infrastructure that will in turn create profits for the public purse.

     
  5.  
    07:00: Greggs results
    Greggs shop

    Greggs results hit the desk. Total sales rose 5.5% to £804m, while like-for-like sales up 4.5% - much better than the 0.8% fall in 2013.

     
  6.  
    06:49: ITV results BBC Radio 4
    Downton cast

    ITV reports annual results very soon. Toby Syfret of Enders Analysis has told Today that while channel brands have become less important than they were in the past, the decline is gradual. Programming - such as Downton Abbey - remains the crucial factor. "Good content is going to be the core of whoever is successful in the future," he says.

     
  7.  
    Via Twitter Sally Bundock Presenter, World Business Report

    tweets: "Morning. #Ukraine hikes interest rates to 30%. Plus GDP slows in #Australia and an i/v with the boss of #Blackberry. See you soon." That's on World Business Report.

     
  8.  
    06:26: Household incomes

    Big discussion about the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on household incomes. Whether the average household income is back to levels they were at before the financial downturn struck. One measure, for the over 60s, it is. But for most of the rest of us, it hasn't got there yet. Our story here.

     
  9.  
    06:15: India rates

    India has cut its main lending rate by a quarter of a point to 7.5% in a bid to boost economic growth. It is the second time this year that the Reserve Bank of India has cut rates as inflation is running at 5.1% - well under the 8% target - on the back of cheaper oil.

     
  10.  
    06:12: Sandwiches Radio 5 live
    UK map of bread names

    Greggs figures are out in an hour or so. The market is looking for 4% growth, earnings are expected to be up 9%. The UK is estimated to spend £9bn a year on sandwiches. Wake Up to Money has been discussing what these are variously called around the country. There's a map illustrating this.

     
  11.  
    06:07: Eurostar sale

    The stake is being bought by a Canadian pension fund and a UK asset manager will buy shares for £585m and Eurostar will also hand over £170m to redeem shares which guarantee a dividend. The stake was officially valued last year at £325m.

     
  12.  
    06:02: Eurostar sale Radio 5 live

    The sale by the Government of its shares in Eurostar for £750m is under discussion on Wake Up to Money. Gemma Godfrey head of investment strategy at wealth manager Brooks MacDonald tells the programme: "After the debacle we saw when they were selling Royal Mail they had to get it right and the value has come in above expectations."

     
  13.  
    06:00: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning. Strap in and sit back. Today's Business Live page will have all the news, all day. Greggs and ITV results are expected to be early highlights.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.