The CIA behind a Swiss cryptography company
The US intelligence service and its German counterpart controlled not just one Swiss company specializing in cryptography, but two, to make it easier for foreign governments to spy, Swiss public television revealed, forcing Swiss lawmakers to call for a new inquiry.
In February, data was brought together by the American newspaper The Washington Post and the Swiss German-language public television SRF. The two media then revealed that the CIA, in collaboration with the BND, had been in control of Crypto AG since 1970, through which they secured access to secret communications.
But a second Swiss company, the smaller Omnisec, was used in the same way, the SRF revealed this week.
Until two years ago, when it suspended operations due to financial problems, Omnisec sold voice, fax and data encryption devices to governments around the world.
Like Crypto AG, its products allowed American and German spies to gain access to exchanges that its customers thought were safe.
But Omnisec had also supplied OC-500 series devices to Swiss federal services, as well as UBS - the largest Swiss bank - and other large Swiss private companies, the SRF reported.
A revelation that provoked strong reactions, as the Crypto scandal is still fresh in the memory of many.
"This raises the issue of espionage even to the detriment of the country," Hans-Peter Portman, a Liberal MP, told the public television network.
Socialist Party co-chair Cedric Vermouth has called for a new parliamentary inquiry.
"How is it possible that such a thing happened in a country that declares itself neutral, such as Switzerland?" He asked.
A parliamentary inquiry into the Crypto AG case concluded in October that Swiss intelligence services had benefited from information provided to them by the CIA and BND's devices, but failed to inform the federal government.
"The Strategic Intelligence Service (SRS), the predecessor of the Federal Intelligence Service (SRC), has known since 1993 that foreign intelligence services were hiding behind Crypto AG," the network said. illegal, but at the same time stressed that the Swiss spies deliberately hid it from the institutions to which they refer.
Crypto's clients included Iran, Latin American military juntas, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and the Vatican, among others, according to the Post.
The machines sold to US allies were safe, while the others could be accessed at will by American spies, always according to the newspaper.