The US National Security Agency has bugged the United Nations’ headquarters in the US city of New York.
According to Germany’s weekly Der Spiegel in the summer of 2012, NSA experts managed to get into the U.N. video conferencing system and cracked its coding system.
“The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” Der Spiegel quoted one document. The Weekly said that the number of decoded communications by NSA rose to 458 from 12 only within three weeks.
It is the latest revelation about the US notorious spying programs, leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden who used to work for the agency, that targeted not only Americans but foreign and international institutions both on the US soil and outside America indicating how systematically and extensively the US spied on other states and institutions.
According to earlier revelations the NSA bugged the offices of EU officials in Washington and New York. It also bugged EU building in Brussels, Belgium and the U.N.’s Vienna-based the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
European officials had reacted angrily to reports of US spying on EU offices when they first surfaced in July saying that the revelation would “have a severe impact on EU-US relations,” as European Parliament President Martin Schulz put it in a statement.
Based on documents that Snowden revealed, the NSA bugging operations – dubbed “Special Collection Service” – target over 80 embassies and consulates worldwide. “The surveillance is intensive and well organised and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,” Reuters has quoted Der Spiegel as saying.
The US has charged Snowden with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”
Fearing for his life, Snowden fled the US, before disclosing the information, first to Hong Kong and then to Russia where he was granted temporary asylum. He resides in an undisclosed location.