Saudi Arabia: MEP John Stuart Agnew (ENF) issued a parliamentary question on the bugging of embassies.

On 7 January 2019, MEP John Stuart Agnew addressed the issue of bugging of embassies in a parliamentary question to the European Commission.

On 7 January 2019, MEP John Stuart Agnew issued a parliamentary question to the European Commission on the issue of bugging of embassies, in consideration of the incident occurred at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul which brought the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2018. Mr. Agnew highlighted the fact that the European Union has diplomatic offices in many countries “in which sensitive matters may be discussed.” For this reason, he stated that “one single bugging occurrence could cause immeasurable damage.”

In light of these observations, MEP Agnew asked the following question:

Can the Commission confirm that following the Istanbul bugging, all such EU facilities have been rechecked and protected against audio visual eavesdropping and other forms of espionage?

In a reply to Mr. Agnew, VP/HR Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission pointed out that the EU Delegations which are highly exposed to the threat of espionage “are subject to sweeping by specialised experts.” Furthermore, specific rooms have been installed in several Delegations in which “discussions are protected against eavesdropping” and counterintelligence experts ensure protection from hostile intelligence services. Ms. Mogherini concluded by remarking that the European External Action Service (EEAS) has been focusing on the security of the most exposed Delegations, due to resource constraints.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the parliamentary question of MEP John Stuart Agnew. We share concerns over the developments of the Khashoggi case and the security of the EU Delegations all over the world. In this regard, ECDHR calls upon the government of Saudi Arabia to shed light on the Khashoggi case, by fully cooperating with the United Nations-led international inquiry.

———-

Please find below a full copy of the question of MEP John Stuart Agnew (ENF) and the response of VP/HR Federica Mogherini.

Question for written answer E-000023-19 to the Commission , submitted by MEP John Stuart Agnew (ENF) on 7 January 2019.

The unfortunate incident at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has highlighted the issue of the ‘bugging’ of diplomatic facilities. The EU has diplomatic offices in many countries in which sensitive matters may be discussed. Indeed, since the virtual pooling of security intelligence from many sources (5 eyes, 9 eyes et al.), one single bugging occurrence could cause immeasurable damage.

Can the Commission confirm that following the Istanbul bugging, all such EU facilities have been rechecked and protected against audio visual eavesdropping and other forms of espionage?

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the European Commission, on February 22 2019.

The EU Delegations highly exposed to the threat of espionage are subject to sweeping by specialised experts. In the same vein, some dedicated rooms are being installed in targeted Delegations; in these rooms, discussions are protected against eavesdropping. Awareness and protection of staff against intelligence approach from hostile intelligence services is ensured by counter intelligence experts. Due to resource constraints, the European External Action Service has so far focused on the security of the most exposed Delegations in this regard.

Related Posts