Der Spiegel: NSA Hacked UN Videocalls As Part of Surveillance Program

Search form

Der Spiegel: NSA Hacked UN Videocalls As Part of Surveillance Program

Der Spiegel: NSA Hacked UN Videocalls As Part of Surveillance Program
Mon, 8/26/2013 - by Al Jazeera
This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera

The extent of U.S. covert surveillance at the United Nations was further detailed Sunday, according to a report by Germany's leading weekly that claimed agents hacked into video conferencing at the organization’s New York headquarters.

In a development that could further strain relations between Washington and its allies, German magazine Der Spiegel said secret documents obtained by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden outlined how the NSA systematically spied on other states and institutions.

Der Spiegel said the European Union and the U.N.'s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), were among those targeted by U.S. intelligence agents.

In the summer of 2012, NSA experts succeeded in getting into the U.N. video conferencing system and cracking its coding system, according one of the documents cited by Der Spiegel.

"The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)," Der Spiegel quoted one document as saying, adding that within three weeks the number of decoded communications rose to 458 from 12.

Internal files also show the NSA spied on the EU legation in New York after it moved to new rooms in autumn 2012. Among the documents copied by Snowden from NSA computers are plans of the EU mission, its IT infrastructure and servers.

According to the documents, the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide called "Special Collection Service". "The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists," wrote Der Spiegel.

'Deep Concern'

Snowden's leaks have embarrassed the U.S. by exposing the global extent of its surveillance programs. Washington has said its spies operate within the law and that the leaks have damaged national security.

A week ago Britain, a staunch U.S. ally in the intelligence field, detained the partner of a Brazil-based journalist working for London's Guardian newspaper who has led coverage of Snowden's leaks. British police said documents seized from David Miranda were "highly sensitive" and could put lives at risk if disclosed.

The Guardian last week destroyed computer equipment containing Snowden files after it was threatened with possible legal action by senior British government advisers.

In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron published on Sunday, editors of leading Nordic newspapers said Miranda's detention and moves against the Guardian were "undermining the position of the free press throughout the world."

"(We are) deeply concerned that a stout defender of democracy and free debate such as the United Kingdom uses anti-terror legislation in order to legalise what amounts to harassment of both the paper and individuals associated with it," said the letter from Sweden's Dagens Nyheter, Finland's Helsingin Sanomat, Denmark's Politiken and Norway's Aftenposten.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to limit U.S. government surveillance programs, saying the United States could and should be more transparent.

The issue has also become a hot topic in Germany before an election next month. Some reports have suggested that German intelligence agents have cooperated with U.S. spies.

There could be a voter backlash if it emerges that Chancellor Angela Merkel, tipped to win a third term, knew more about such cooperation than she has so far acknowledged.

 

Article Tabs

Black Lives Matter, racial injustice, economic injustice, Tia Oso, Patrisse Cullors, white supremacy, Ku Klux Klan, #BernieSoBlack

The recent Black Lives Matter protest at the Netroots Nation conference was a teachable moment for everyone – forcing progressives to pick a side as they shape next year's electoral agenda.

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, GMO labeling, GMOs, Monsanto, Denying Americans the Right to Know Act, DARK Act, Big Food, Grocery Manufacturers Association, right to know, Just Label It, Center for Food Safety

While government officials and the food industry claim GMOs are safe, consumer advocates seeking transparency on labels argue that no one really knows the long-term impacts of genetically modified crops.

Black Lives Matter, Department of Homeland Security, DHS National Operations Center, First Amendment rights, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Ferguson protests, Baltimore protests, Black Panthers

The reports confirm social media surveillance of the movement and related events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York – including watching over vigils, parades and other benign gatherings.

bank bailouts, fraudulent bank practices, mortgage backed securities, illegal foreclosures, Lanny Breuer, Eric Holder, FDIC, securitized loans, due process, whistleblowers, robosigning, mortgage fraud, revolving door

"The system is largely gamed, broken and corrupted by money, influence peddling and a revolving door."

The call for a ban follows controversial legislation allowing E.U. member states to opt-out of GM cultivation, even though it has been approved at the European Union level.

Bobby Jindal, corporate tax breaks, corporate tax giveaways, corporate subsidies, Affordable Care Act

Under the Jindal administration, Louisiana has become a tax haven for industries ranging from fracking to film production to oil extraction – while instituting cuts to public education and driving the state into a financial hole.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago
The Yes Men, The Yes Men Are Revolting, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano, Occupy Sandy, climate activism

The prankster activist duo are back at it again, now directing their comical creative theater at the climate crisis and the earth's worst offenders.

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago

The call for a ban follows controversial legislation allowing E.U. member states to opt-out of GM cultivation, even though it has been approved at the European Union level.

Posted 3 days 12 hours ago
Act Out!, Eleanor Goldfield, Taylor Swift, Fox News, funny or die

This week let's go ahead and debunk that myth of being “a-political” with a little help from Taylor Swift and Fox “News."

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago
wealth inequality, rising inequality, income inequality, rising homelessness, rising rents

The deepening gap between rich and poor is both a sociological fact and a state of mind – as the cost of housing is up dramatically, and so is homelessness.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago
wealth inequality, rising inequality, income inequality, rising homelessness, rising rents

The deepening gap between rich and poor is both a sociological fact and a state of mind – as the cost of housing is up dramatically, and so is homelessness.

Bobby Jindal, corporate tax breaks, corporate tax giveaways, corporate subsidies, Affordable Care Act

Under the Jindal administration, Louisiana has become a tax haven for industries ranging from fracking to film production to oil extraction – while instituting cuts to public education and driving the state into a financial hole.

Chilean student movement, Bill Moyer, Michelle Bachelet, Movement Action Plan, free education

As President Michelle Bachelet sets to implement comprehensive education reform, the movement is in a crucial phase – now students and teachers are ratcheting up pressure with huge protests and an indefinite strike.

Act Out!, Eleanor Goldfield, Taylor Swift, Fox News, funny or die

This week let's go ahead and debunk that myth of being “a-political” with a little help from Taylor Swift and Fox “News."

Greek debt crisis, Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, predatory lending, cross-currency swap, Mario Draghi

CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt – and in the process almost doubled it.

Sign Up