Edward Snowden said on German TV that the National Security Agency spies on companies as well as people.
During an interview broadcast Sunday night, Snowden said: “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 didn’t provide other details about the corporate targets or what information might be collected from them.
In June last year, a story in the American Spectator said the NSA’s Echelon spy satellite system had been used to collect “economic intelligence.” Former CIA Director James Woolsey told a German newspaper the intelligence included evidence of non-U.S. companies “paying bribes to obtain contracts that might otherwise go to American companies.”
Snowden, 30, faces felony charges in the U.S. after he leaked the NSA’s mass surveillance program to the press.
His mention on German TV of Munich-based Siemens is intriguing. The company’s 2008 settlement with the DOJ and SEC for $800 million is still the biggest FCPA enforcement action of all time.
Snowden has temporary asylum in Russia, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.