With allegations swirling around the world about the extent of NSA surveillance, there is a new report surfacing that the secretive U.S. intelligence agency is no longer eavesdropping on foreign diplomats assigned to U.N. headquarters in New York.
Reuters News Agency reported that President Barack Obama told the National Security Agency (News - Alert) to stop the surveillance at the United Nations, according to an unnamed U.S. official.
"The United States is not conducting electronic surveillance targeting the United Nations headquarters in New York," the official told Reuters.
The news agency explained that U.S. officials (such as from the FBI) have often used surveillance methods on U.N. diplomats – given how some foreign spies could use diplomatic positions as cover. Also, Der Spiegel claims that last year the NSA accessed the U.N. video conferencing system and broke through encryption protections.
Recently, there reports have emerged that the NSA has been spying on foreign heads of state, as well, including those of allies such as Germany. The European Union and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegations may too have been targets of U.S. surveillance.
Amid all of these controversies, the head of the NSA has denied that the agency “intercepted communications passing through Yahoo and Google (News - Alert) data centers.”
“That’s never happened,” Gen. Keith Alexander told Bloomberg News. “[The NSA does] not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers.”
“NSA does collect information on terrorists and our national intelligence priorities but we are not authorized to go into a U.S. company’s servers and take data,” he added.
In addition, Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, said the company has “strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centers, and we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency.”
Nevertheless, The Washington Post maintains that the NSA “has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.”
Edited by Blaise McNamee