After Edward Snowden gave a Q&A session last week via Twitter, the former NSA contractor has now made comments regarding the agency spying on foreign corporations in order for the US to gain economic advantages. The US government has vehemently denied this kind of industrial espionage several times in the past, but a recent interview with Snowden suggests otherwise.

Snowden said the US government's spy tactics also stretch out to corporations in an interview with a German television network. The NSA conducts industrial information snagging operations that contribute to national interest, not just national security, according to Snowden. When asked if the NSA was spying on foreign corporations, names like Mercedes Benz and Siemens came up. Snowden said "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information nevertheless."

This kind of economic spying could have a detrimental effect on US foreign relations if it were to end up as being true. The NSA has been accused of similar activity in the past when allegations surfaced that it was spying on a Brazilian oil company, but there was nothing conclusively proven. These kinds of operations are something other countries have been accused of in the past as well. Chinese agencies have been reported to have attempted to hack information out of more than 700 companies including Blackberry.

Beyond that, Snowden said to the German network that he has no further physical evidence regarding NSA activity in his possession, and that select journalists now have everything.

(Image via AP/Patrick Semansky)