The U.S. National Security Agency is accused of bugging the United Nations' New York headquarters, along with the European Union and the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, last summer, according to documents released by Edward Snowden to Germany's Der Spiegel.
NSA agents could hardly contain their excitement after getting access to the U.N. "The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)," one document says, according to Der Spiegel. NSA experts allegedly infiltrated the U.N. system through the video conferencing set-up at the U.N.'s offices and used that to access offices for the European Union and the U.N.'s Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency office. The number of decrypted communications rose from 12 to 458 within three weeks.
The documents released to Der Spiegel also claim the NSA has bugs in 80 embassies and consulates around the world. This seems like a very high number, which is probably why the documents allegedly say that should remain top secret otherwise everyone would be very upset. But we already know to an extent that everyone is spying on everyone at all times, even at G20 summits, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
Reuters points out some European presidents wrote an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday criticizing his recent detention of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda. Sweden's Dagens Nyheter, Finland's Helsingin Sanomat, Denmark's Politiken and Norway's Aftenposten also criticized Cameron for threatening to press charges if the Guardian did not destroy a laptop with files leaked by Snowden. The paper complied. "(We are) deeply concerned that a stout defender of democracy and free debate such as the United Kingdom uses anti-terror legislation in order to legalize what amounts to harassment of both the paper and individuals associated with it," the letter says.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.