German newspaper: NSA spied on U.N.
BERLIN — The National Security Agency bugged the United Nations' New York headquarters, Germany's Der Spiegel weekly said on Sunday in a report on U.S. spying that could further strain relations between Washington and its allies.
Citing secret documents obtained by fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel said the files showed how the United States systematically spied on other states and institutions.
Der Spiegel said the European Union and the U.N.'s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, were among those targeted by intelligence agents.
In the summer of 2012, NSA experts succeeded in getting into the U.N. video conferencing system and cracking its coding system, according to one of the documents cited by Der Spiegel.
“The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” Der Spiegel quoted one document as saying, adding that within three weeks the number of decoded communications rose to 458 from 12.
Internal files show the NSA spied on the EU legation in New York after it moved to new rooms last fall. Among the documents copied by Snowden from NSA computers are plans of the EU mission, its IT infrastructure and servers.
According to the documents, the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide. “The surveillance is intensive and well organized, and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,” wrote Der Spiegel.
Snowden's leaks have embarrassed the United States by exposing the global extent of its surveillance programs. Washington has said its spies operate within the law and that the leaks have damaged national security.
A week ago Britain, a staunch U.S. ally in the intelligence field, detained the partner of a Brazil-based journalist working for London's Guardian newspaper who has led coverage of Snowden's leaks. British police said documents seized from David Miranda were “highly sensitive” and could put lives at risk if disclosed.
The Guardian last week destroyed computer equipment containing Snowden files after it was threatened with possible legal action by senior British government advisers.
In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron published on Sunday, editors of leading Nordic newspapers said Miranda's detention and moves against the Guardian were “undermining the position of the free press throughout the world”.
This month, President Obama announced plans to limit government surveillance programs, saying the United States could and should be more transparent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ebola viral disease prompts U.S. travel warning to West Africa
- U.S., China to meet, just days after interception of Navy patrol plane
- U.S. says Egypt, UAE conduct airstrikes to back renegade general in Libya