United Nations to raise new spy claims with US: spokesman
AFPUNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations will approach the U.S. government over a report by a German magazine that U.S. intelligence spied on video conferences by top U.N. officials, a spokesman said Monday.
August 28, 2013, 11:21 am TWN
“We are aware of the reports, and we intend to be in touch with the relevant authorities on this,” a U.N. spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters, adding that this meant the U.S. administration.
Haq told reporters the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations has become “well established international law, therefore member states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions.”
A report by Der Spiegel magazine said the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had broken the encryption code to allow U.S. intelligence to listen in to U.N. video conferences.
The measure also involved the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, the report said quoting NSA documents. The IAEA has played a key role monitoring Iran's suspect nuclear program.
It was the latest in a series of revelations about U.S. spying on embassies and U.N. agencies made since former U.S. analyst Edward Snowden started revealing details of U.S. intelligence tactics.
“Whenever we have received this information in the past we have taken it up with the relevant authorities,” Haq said.
Asked about the issue, the U.S. State Department said “the U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies around the world when they raise concerns.”
Spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted the U.S. values and cooperates with the U.N., often to “share information, including intelligence.”
Der Spiegel said the NSA broke the encryption in mid-2012 and within weeks, had dramatically increased its surveillance of U.N. communications.
The NSA once allegedly caught the Chinese secret services eavesdropping on the U.N. in 2011, it added, quoting an internal report.
Der Spiegel also claims that the U.S. agency kept tabs on the European Union after it moved into new offices in New York in September 2012.
Among documents provided by Snowden were plans of the EU's premises, which the NSA codenamed “Apalachee.”
Earlier reports in Der Spiegel and Britain's Guardian newspaper have detailed alleged widespread NSA surveillance of EU offices, including diplomatic missions in Washington and at the United Nations in New York.
Revelations about NSA snooping made by Snowden have sparked outrage in Europe.