Snowden's Latest Leak Details G20 Spying

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 17 2013 9:55 AM

Snowden's Latest: Brits Tricked G20 Diplomats With Counterfeit Internet Cafes

170740200
Demonstrators from the 'IF campaign' wearing masks depicting G8 leaders protest against tax avoidance during the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013

Photo by Bertland Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Drip, drip, drip. The latest from Edward Snowden via the Guardian (British spellings theirs):

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. ...
The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.
There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.
Advertisement

According to the report, the Brits went as far as setting up fake Internet cafes to intercept diplomats' emails at a time when world leaders were scrambling to cobble together a deal aimed at addressing the global financial crisis. The British newspaper reports that the Turkish finance minister and as many as 15 other delegates from Turkey were among the main targets of the operation. According to one of the briefing papers seen by the Guardian, the intent of the British spying operation was "to ensure that intelligence relevant to [Her Majesty’s Government’s] desired outcomes for its presidency of the G20 reaches customers at the right time and in a form which allows them to make full use of it."

Several of the documents published by the Guardian contain the NSA logo, suggesting that at least some of the previously secret activities were a team effort between the long-time cross-Atlantic allies. The paper also reports that the NSA kept the British up-to-date on its own eavesdropping attempts on then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's phone calls.

The disclosures come as President Obama and other world leaders gather in Northern Ireland today for the start of the Group of Eight summit.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 7:23 PM MIT Researchers Are Using Smartphones to Interact With Other Screens
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.