Snowden Files: NSA Bugged UN

'Special collection service' spied on 80 embassies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2013 1:03 AM CDT
Snowden Files: NSA Bugged UN
The flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York.    (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)

In what could prove to be the most damaging Snowden leak yet, the National Security Agency bugged the United Nations headquarters in New York, as well as at least 80 embassies and consulates around the globe, according to der Spiegel. The agency's experts cracked the code last year, with one of them reporting "the data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)," the German magazine reports, citing documents obtained by the NSA leaker. During the surveillance—which violated US agreements with the UN—the NSA snoops discovered some Chinese spies were also listening in.

The bugging program the agency calls its "Special Collection Service" also targeted the European Union's UN mission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, reports der Spiegel, which says "the surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists." American snooping on the United Nations has been reported before, the New York Times notes, but the Snowden files provide much more information on the program and are likely to do more damage to US relations with allies including Germany. In other Snowden news, Reuters reports that it was Cuba's refusal to let the NSA leaker in that left him stranded for six weeks in the Moscow airport. (Read more United Nations stories.)

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