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NSA spying on foreign embassies helped US 'develop' strategy

Published time: May 13, 2014 10:16
National Security Agency in Fort Mead, Maryland (AFP Photo)

National Security Agency in Fort Mead, Maryland (AFP Photo)

The National Security Agency in 2010 provided the US ambassador to the United Nations with background information on several governments and their embassies that were undecided on the question of Iranian sanctions.

In May 2010, as the UN Security Council was attempting to win support for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear-energy program, which some say is a front for a nuclear weapons program, several members were undecided as to how they would vote. At this point, the US ambassador to the world body, Susan Rice, asked the NSA for assistance in her efforts to “develop a strategy,” leaked NSA documents reveal.

The NSA swung into action, aiming their powerful surveillance apparatus at the personal communications of diplomats from four non-permanent Security Council members — Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda. This gave Rice an apparent upper-hand in the course of the negotiations.

In June, 12 of the 15-member Security Council voted in favor of new sanctions.

Later, Rice extended her gratitude to the US spy agency, saying its surveillance had helped her to know when diplomats from the other permanent representatives — China, England, France and Russia — “were telling the truth ... revealed their real position on sanctions ... gave us an upper hand in negotiations ... and provided information on various countries’ ‘red lines’.”

The information comes from a new book by journalist Glenn Greenwald, ‘No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State’, the New York Times reported.

Rice’s request for assistance was discovered in an internal report by the security agency’s Special Source Operations division, which cooperates with US telecommunications companies in the event a request for information is deemed necessary.

Greenwald’s book goes on sale Tuesday.

The book also provides a list of embassies around the world that had been infiltrated by the US spy agency, including those of Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the European Union, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

United States Vice President Joe Biden (R) sits with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice stands (C) before the start of the United Nations Security Council High-Level Meeting on Iraq at U.N. headquarters in New York, December 15, 2010 (Reuters)

News of the NSA’s vast surveillance network, which targets friends and enemies of the United States with equanimity, were revealed in June when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided Greenwald with thousands of files on the program.

Despite promises by President Obama for greater safeguards on the invasive system, which has infuriated people around the world, the NSA seems determined not to let international public opinion block its spying efforts.

“While our intelligence agencies will continue to gather information about the intentions of governments — as opposed to ordinary citizens — around the world, in the same way that the intelligence services of every other nation do, we will not apologize because our services may be more effective,” according to a White House statement.

The latest revelations detailing how the NSA gives American diplomats an unfair advantage raises the question as to how such orders passed legal muster in the first place.

According to the documents, a legal team went to work on May 22 building the case to electronically eavesdrop on diplomats and envoys from Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda whose embassies were apparently not yet covered by the NSA.

A judge from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the request on May 26.

The Obama administration has faced fierce criticism following revelations of the global surveillance program, which was used not simply to identify potential terrorists, but to eavesdrop on the communications of world leaders.

Following revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone communications were being hacked by the NSA, Germany pushed for a ‘no-spy’ agreement with the United States to restore the trust.

The Obama administration, however, rejected the offer.

Now Europe has announced plans to construct a new Internet network that bypasses the United States and the NSA, a move the US Trade Representative labeled “draconian.”

Comments (37)


far far 14.05.2014 10:33

anti communist 13.05.2014 19:03

There we go couldn't help your selves at RT there, could you?.


you thinks everything is good now?
its okay to kill people based on metadata?
its okay to do wrong and face no reaction.
CNN cant even dare to talk about USA constitution and Snowden why? because they are not allowed to.Let me help you a bit go to CNN and talk about Snowden and you will be bombarded with comments from government paid trolls here you wont.
RT can because they are independent.


far far 14.05.2014 10:14

Arthur Pewtey 13.05.2014 20:12

Either the Russians aren't spying .


Of course Russian are spying too.The thing is Snowden faced a moral dilemma where he had no better choice. What he saw at NSA is something we won't know. He mentioned they were using metadata from years ago to punish or hurt people who did no wrong rather they kept punishing them in ways no one can imagine or understand. Now they have even admitted they killed people based on these metadata which can be as simple as writing on RT "Russia is better country than USA" and you are screwed for rest of your life.


Che Buraška 14.05.2014 00:22

Uncle Sam 13.05.2014 16:30

I was just reading an article about the fact Snowden more than likely was working for the Russians or Chinese in a covert operation. That also explains why he headed to China and ended up in Russia.


This explains nothing. Where else should he head to and whereelse should he have ended up? Canada? Britain? Germany? Or Sweden like Assange? You joke, don't you?

View all comments (37)
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