The Guardian is reporting that the Government Communications Headquarters, the British version of the National Security Agency, spied on diplomats and foreign officials during the G20 summit in 2009, a revelation coming twenty-four hours in advance of Monday’s G8 summit in London.
According to documents uncovered by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and shown to The Guardian, officials “had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts,” and “some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.” It appears this surveillance was approved by high-ranking officials in Gordon Brown’s government, and that information gained from them was distributed to British ministers.
Unlike the recent revelations about NSA surveillance, which ostensibly targets terrorist plots, the British agency was eavesdropping on officials for the purposes of gaining an upper hand in diplomatic negotiations, with Turkey and South Africa targeted in particular.
According to the Guardian, the sophisticated spying system included the following:
• Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;
• Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;
• Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;
• Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;
• Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.
The same batch of documents revealed that American intelligence officials conducted espionage on then Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. The NSA has an office in London that works in tandem with the GCHQ and targeted Medvedev’s communications when he as in town for the G20 summit in 2009.
While it has been widely known the two countries spy on each other, it is rare for either to be caught in the act; the latest disclosures will also be deeply embarrassing for the White House as Obama prepares to meet Vladimir Putin, who succeeded Medvedev as president, in the margins of the G8 summit that week.
“While it has been widely known the two countries spy on each other,” the Guardian wrote, “it is rare for either to be caught in the act; the latest disclosures will also be deeply embarrassing for the White House as Obama prepares to meet Vladimir Putin, who succeeded Medvedev as president, in the margins of the G8 summit this week.”
Read the full article HERE.
[h/t The Guardian]
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