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US rented flat to spy on Israel’s Barak

24 December 2013 8:43

341617_Ehud BarakUS intelligence rented an apartment opposite former Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak’s primary residence to spy on him during 2008-2009, Israeli media reports.

American officials packed the apartment full of electronic surveillance equipment. But US embassy officials say it was “entirely coincidental” that the apartment in question faced directly into Barak’s home, according to “All we did was rent an apartment for a member of the Marines,” the embassy was quoted as saying, “who was working as a security guard at the embassy.”

Documents leaked to newspapers last week by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that British intelligence agency General Communications Headquarters worked with the American spy agency to intercept Barak’s emails and monitored his offices.

The media also revealed that the NSA spied on email communications of then-prime minister Ehud Olmert as well. The US spying on Olmert’s office continued after Benjamin Netanyahu took over in March 2009.

In an interview with The New York Times on Dec. 20, Olmert said the email was used for correspondence with his office and it was unlikely that any secrets could have been compromised.

“This was an unimpressive target,” Olmert said. “I would be surprised if there was any attempt by American intelligence in Israel to listen to the prime minister’s lines.”

According to last week’s revelations, other spying targets included European Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia, German government buildings and French Defense contractor Thales Group. The UN development program and the children’s charity UNICEF, and several unnamed African heads of state were also monitored by US spy agencies.

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