The NSA's hard-won surveillance of the United Nations, celebrated in a now-infamous memo, has come to a silent and ignominious end, as the Obama administration continues to clean up the fallout of the Edward Snowden leaks.
Der Spiegel reported on surveillance of the New York-based organization in August. According to one memo the German newspaper saw, the NSA was giddy when it finally gained access to the private video streams used within the building. "The traffic gives us the internal video teleconferencing the UN (yay!)," the memo read.
Now, that's coming to an end. (Predicted NSA response: boo!) Reuters reports that the surveillance has come to an end.
President Barack Obama recently ordered the National Security Agency to curtail eavesdropping on the United Nations headquarters in New York as part of a review of U.S. electronic surveillance, according to a U.S. official familiar with the decision. ...
"The United States is not conducting electronic surveillance targeting the United Nations headquarters in New York," said a senior Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The official did not address past surveillance of the world body," Reuters continues. It's a denial in the same spirit as that offered to German chancellor Angela Merkel by White House spokesman Jay Carney. The U.S. "is not monitoring and will not monitor" Merkel's calls, he assured the world last week.
The United Nations didn't receive any assurance about future activity, nor does the Reuters report address spying on any of the scores of diplomats that live and work in New York City. The initial Der Spiegel report suggested that some 80 embassies and consulates were being surveilled.
Photo: Obama checks out the U.N. for himself. (AP)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.