Report: NSA Bugged UN Headquarters

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 25 2013 2:43 PM

Report: NSA Bugged United Nations Headquarters, Spied on European Union Diplomats

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A view of the United Nations Headquarters

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

So much for the claims that the National Security Agency has been carrying out massive surveillance solely to prevent terrorist attacks. In the latest claims that will likely further complicate relations between Washington and its allies, Germany’s Der Spiegel, a weekly publication, says documents obtained by former contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA bugged the United Nations’ New York headquarters. If confirmed, the spying would be illegal because the United States has a long-standing agreement with the United Nations regarding covert operations, notes Deutsche Welle. According to the German weekly, the NSA appears to have been able to access the video conferencing system used at the U.N. headquarters.

And it doesn't stop there. Der Spiegel says it has seen documents showing how the NSA also spied on European Union diplomats in New York. The U.N.’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency  was also targeted by U.S. spies, according to the Reuters report on the German story. Der Spiegel claims the NSA has eavesdropping programs in more than 80 embassies and consulates across the world. "The surveillance is intensive and well organised and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists," wrote Der Spiegel.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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