Not quite as exciting as listening to terrorist chatter, I'm sure. Nevertheless, the NSA bugging UN headquarters is just fine with me. The UN building is technically on American soil but what else is the NSA in existence for except to spy on foreigners?
The U.S. National Security Agency has bugged the United Nations' New York headquarters, Germany's Der Spiegel weekly said on Sunday in a report on U.S. spying that could further strain relations between Washington and its allies.
According to the documents, the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide called "Special Collection Service". "The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists," wrote Der Spiegel.
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.
Once again, the hypocrisy implied by the Der Speigel story and the reaction around the world is nauseating. People are shocked, shocked I tell you, that the US spies on the UN. There isn't much intelligence to glean from bugging the UN - largely because there is little in the way of intelligent people there. Still, it's nice to get a heads up on who will be bashing the US or Israel next.
The media must be getting to the bottom of Snowden's magic bag of documents because this story doesn't even rate a yawn on the outrage meter.