Citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden, Germany’s Der Spiegel reports that the National Security Agency spied on other countries’ diplomats by bugging the United Nations’ New York headquarters. The files show that in the summer of 2012, the NSA broke in to the UN’s video conferencing system and cracked its coding system. They were pretty proud of themselves: “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” wrote one official.
In the three weeks following the bugging, the number of communications decoded by the agency rose from 12 to 458, according to Der Spiegel’s report. The operation was part of the NSA’s “Special Collection Service,” a program that has been carried out in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide. The leaked documents also show that the agency spied on the European Union’s New York legation in the fall of 2012, as well as UN’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA.) Materials obtained by Snowden include the EU office’s floor plan, as well as information on its IT infrastructure and servers. Consider this a preview to whatever the newly aligned Guardian and New York Times are cooking up for next month.