NSA to snoop on Iranian president at UN meeting: NBC News report
The US National Security Agency (NSA) is most likely to spy on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this week, according to a new report.
The top US spy agency would likely apply a “full court press” that includes intercepting cellphone calls and bugging hotel rooms to spy on foreign leaders, including Rouhani, NBC News reported on Wednesday, citing former intelligence analysts.
The Iranian president will arrive in New York on Thursday to address the 70th annual session of the General Assembly.
The American news network obtained a top-secret report on a previous NSA operation against the delegation Iran sent to the United Nations in 2007.
According to the document, the NSA bugged the hotel rooms and phones of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his entire delegation, and US spy agents listened to their thousands of conversations.
NBC News reported that the agency monitored in-person conversations, Skype calls and video conferences by the use of a secret technology called “Blarney”.
An “EXCEL spreadsheet guru” compiled information on all delegates as well as the schedules of Ahmadinejad and then-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, including names, titles and passport numbers, according to the report.
“Collection information and identifications of the various hotel rooms and cell phones were also updated as soon as they were discovered,” the three-page document shows.
Having used the latest in “Human Language Technology”, teams of five or six analysts from three different sections were on duty for 19 hours a day to keep track of those talks and map out the deepest web of Iranian politics and personal connections, according to the report.
Once a secretive federal court gave the “OK” for the “special collection”, the agency “had to ensure that the proper procedures would be in place … to efficiently tackle the anticipated influx of traffic,” NBC wrote.
The NSA declined to comment on the document or the surveillance of the 2007 Iranian delegation.