Airbus wants answers from Germany over U.S. spying claims

Airbus CEO wants answers about alleged spying
Airbus CEO wants answers about alleged spying

Airbus is demanding answers from the German government following media reports that it helped the U.S. National Security Agency spy on the company.

The aviation group, based in France, said it would file a criminal complaint about suspected industrial espionage in an attempt to force an explanation from Berlin.

"After all this reporting, with no clarification, it's time to file that application for investigation in order to find out what happened," said Airbus (EADSF) Group CEO Tom Enders on CNN's Quest Means Business.

"We have heard nothing from the German government so far, so there are plenty of questions...we are asking for a normal thing -- for clarification and investigation."

Earlier this week, Germany's Bild newspaper reported that U.S. spy agencies had targeted Airbus and other companies for years, and that the German government had been aware of it since 2008.

Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung said that the NSA had used a German intelligence service listening post to spy on European countries for more than a decade. It said the main targets were senior officials in the French foreign ministry, the office of the French president, and the European Commission. Some companies were also targeted, it said.

The new claims of cooperation with the U.S. in spying activities are putting pressure on the German government, which has for years characterized itself as a victim of snooping. In 2013, the U.S. came under fire for allegedly tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

Related: Is the government spying on you? Find out

Airbus is the only serious rival to Boeing (BA) in the large jet airliner market. The competition is fierce, and the companies have accused each other of receiving illegal state aid in the past.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it does collect information about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing.

"What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we collect to - U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line," it said in a statement.

"Nobody knows right now what the truth is," Enders said. "If there's so much smoke, I guess there must be some fire somewhere."

Related: Fearing United plane was hacked, FBI pulls security expert off flight

-- CNNMoney's Mark Thompson and CNN's Evan Perez contributed to this article.

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