Italy's government, citizens were not spied on: PM Letta

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2013 5:06 AM
Italy's government, citizens were not spied on: PM Letta

ROME (Reuters) - International intelligence agencies have not spied on Italy's government and embassies and there is no evidence of mass surveillance of citizens, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Wednesday.

Press reports had accused British and U.S. intelligence agencies of monitoring Italy's telecoms network, targeting the government and companies.

Similar allegations regarding France and Germany, in the wake of leaks by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, raised diplomatic tensions between Washington and its European allies last month.

"We found no breaches of the communications security of the government or of our embassies," Letta said during a parliamentary session dedicated to the allegations.

"Nor did we find that the privacy of Italian citizens was violated by our national intelligence services collaborating with foreign intelligence," Letta added.

The prime minister denied reports that Italian intelligence had been complicit in a UK-run program dubbed Tempora involving the tapping of undersea fiber-optic cables carrying Internet and email traffic.

Overseas agencies had asked Italy for intelligence on people who were not Italian citizens, but that request was turned down, he said, without going into further details.

Italian national security could not have participated in Tempora and the U.S. mass surveillance program Prism as it would have been illegal under Italian law, he added.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Andrew Heavens)