(Reuters) - The United States bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programs.
Der Spiegel cited from a September 2010 "top secret" document of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) which it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him and which the weekly's journalists had seen in part.
The document outlines how the NSA bugged offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the United Nations, not only listening to conversations and phone calls but also gaining access to documents and emails.
The document explicitly called the EU a "target".
A slew of Snowden's disclosures in foreign media about U.S. surveillance programs have ignited a political furor in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security.
According to Der Spiegel, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council that groups EU national governments, by calling a remote maintenance unit.
Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed and traced several missed calls to NSA offices within the NATO compound in Brussels.
Each EU member state has rooms in Justus Lipsius with phone and Internet connections, which ministers can use.
Thinking about it, this whistleblower could end up being one of the biggest modern day heroes to come out of the USA.
All power to him. Good lad.
America's NSA intelligence service allegedly targeted the European Union with its spying activities. According to SPIEGEL information, the US placed bugs in the EU representation in Washington and infiltrated its computer network. Cyber attacks were also perpetrated against Brussels in New York and Washington.
The documents SPIEGEL has seen indicate that the EU representation to the United Nations was attacked in a manner similar to the way surveillance was conducted against its offices in Washington. An NSU document dated September 2010 explicitly names the Europeans as a "location target"
The documents also indicate the US intelligence service was responsible for an electronic eavesdropping operation in Brussels. A little over five years ago, EU security experts noticed several telephone calls that were apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the Justus Lipsius Building, where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council are located. The calls were made to numbers that were very similar to the one used for the remote administration of the building's telephone system.
Security officials managed to track the calls to NATO headquarters in the Brussels suburb of Evere. A precise analysis showed that the attacks on the telecommunications system had originated from a building complex separated from the rest of the NATO headquarters that is used by NSA experts.
The German justice minister said: "It is beyond any notion that our friends in the U.S. view the Europeans as enemies."
If all those media really are true, we Europeans are looked at by the Americans similar how they acted with their enemies during the time of the cold war.
European officials reacted with fury Sunday after a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices.
The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions
US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest 'top secret' US National Security Agency documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.
Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of "targets" includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
The US intelligence service codename for the bugging operation targeting the EU mission at the United Nations is 'Perdido'. Among the documents leaked by Snowden is a floor plan of the mission in mid-town Manhattan. The methods used against the mission include the collection of data transmitted by implants, or bugs, placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation that appears to provide a copy of everything on a targeted computer's hard drive.
The operation against the French mission to the UN had the covername 'Blackfoot' and the one against its embassy in Washington was 'Wabash'. The Italian embassy in Washington was known to the NSA as both 'Bruneau' and 'Hemlock'.
The eavesdropping of the Greek UN mission was known as 'Powell" and the operation against its embassy was referred to as 'Klondyke'.