The NSA bugged the United Nations' headquarters in 2012, hacking into its videoconferencing and spying on the diplomatic work of other countries, according to yet another leak released by Edward Snowden, this time published by Germany's Der Spiegel.
The NSA cracked the internal coding system and then, in communication between members, wrote “the data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations. (yay!)” The NSA also bugged the European Union embassy down the street in New York, one of 80 embassies the NSA bugged around the world as part of a project called “Special Collection Services.” All this, and still some NSA analysts had time to spy on current and former love interests, also known as "LOVEINT."
"Citing secret U.S. documents obtained by fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel said the files showed how the United States 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."
"The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists," wrote Der Spiegel.
This wouldn't be the first time the U.S. allegedly enlisted the help of the NSA in efforts to keep tabs on United Nation's diplomats. As far back as 2003, The Observer published an investigative report revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) was conducting a secret surveillance operation directed at intercepting the telephone and email communications of several U.N. Security Council diplomats, both in their offices and in their homes. This was allegedly part of efforts by the Bush administration "in a battle to win votes in favor of war against Iraq."