CIA controlled 2nd Swiss encryption firm, says report | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:17 AM, November 28, 2020

CIA controlled 2nd Swiss encryption firm, says report

Swiss politicians have voiced outrage and demanded an investigation after revelations that a second Swiss encryption company was allegedly used by the CIA and its German counterpart to spy on governments worldwide.

"How can such a thing happen in a country that claims to be neutral like Switzerland?" co-head of Switzerland's Socialist Party, Cedric Wermuth, asked in an interview with Swiss public broadcaster SRF late Thursday.

He called for a parliamentary inquiry after an SRF investigation broadcast on Wednesday found that a second Swiss encryption firm had been part of a spectacular espionage scheme orchestrated by US and German intelligence services.

A first investigation had revealed back in February an elaborate, decades-long set-up, in which the CIA and its German counterpart creamed off the top-secret communications of governments through their hidden control of a Swiss encryption company called Crypto.

SRF's report this week found that a second but smaller Swiss encryption firm, Omnisec, had been used in the same way.

That company, which was split off from Swiss cryptographic equipment maker Gretag in 1987, sold voice, fax and data encryption equipment to governments around the world until it halted operations two years ago.

SRF's investigative programme Rundschau concluded that, like Crypto, Omnisec had sold manipulated equipment to foreign governments and armies. The findings unleashed fresh outrage in Switzerland, which is still reeling from the Crypto revelations.

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