Leaked documents reveal NSA spied on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders

By on October 25, 2013, 7:30 AM
nsa, leaked, spying, wiretapping, edward snowden, foreign leaders

The National Security Agency has monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders thanks to help from other branches of the government courtesy of the latest leaked documents obtained by The Guardian via whistleblower Edward Snowden. The revelation comes shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed to have obtained information that the US may have monitored her mobile phone.

According to the publication, the NSA encourages those in charge of “customer” departments like the White House and the Pentagon to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the telephone numbers of world leaders to their surveillance programs.

In one instance, a government worker reportedly handed over 200 phone numbers to the NSA which were subsequently pegged for surveillance. Interestingly enough, the October 2006 memo also points out that such spying efforts resulted in little reportable intelligence.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said the latest NSA revelations have caused tension in their relationship with some countries but they are dealing with it through diplomatic channels. Carney further noted that the relationships in question are very important both economically and for the safety and security of the US and thus they will continue to work to maintain the closest possible ties.

Germany’s defense minister Thomas de Maizière said it would be really bad if the allegations prove to be true. Maizière added that it really can’t work like this and they couldn’t simply go back to business as usual.




User Comments: 13

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That was a conference call, where all the leaders were spying on each other. LOL

Edit:

Check out the monitors in the image, that must be Windows 7 on the left and Windows 8 on the right. Yeah I know, jokes getting old.

lmike6453 said:

I guess if we're trying to piss off the rest of the world by invading even the leaders of countries privacy, it's working

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess if we're trying to piss off the rest of the world by invading even the leaders of countries privacy, it's working
As long as they don't plant a missile over my house, I don't care (wait I don't really mean that). But then I believe that is what we do to other countries, so I have no grounds to stand for objections.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

The retired spies of the cold war are probably sitting around telling stories like "Pfft... back in my day, if we wanted to spy on someone we had to sit outside their office with a long range microphone 24 hours a day in the cold. Spies these days don't know how easy they have it."

Seriously though... are we supposed to be bothered by this? We're bothered the NSA spies on US, we're not going to be bothered to find out one of the princes of Saudia Arabia has a bug on his phone. That's what the NSA is for.

Guest said:

America is such a scummy place.

2 people like this | Guest said:

Can you imagine what would happen if the President's phone had been tapped ? It'd be called an act of war and blah blah. Yet it seems it's okay to do it to France's, Germany's etc. This is how to lose allies .....and for what ? NSA are ******* ******.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I heard they tried to listen in on my country's president as well but thought they had a kindergarten number because all they heard was childish babble, story telling & infighting. Little did they realize that's normal politics for us.

Guest said:

If the news was reversed, and if it became known that Germany was tapping into the phone of the US President, I wonder if the impact would be the same...

MilwaukeeMike said:

Can you imagine what would happen if the President's phone had been tapped ? It'd be called an act of war and blah blah. Yet it seems it's okay to do it to France's, Germany's etc. This is how to lose allies .....and for what ? NSA are ******* ******.

No, it would be called an average Tuesday. We've had stories on this website even about entire buildings in China dedicated to hacking into every American government and corporate site possible. I'll bet America receives more attempts at being bugged and hacked than any other country by a long shot.

Act of war?! I'd say you watch too much TV, but even in movies the 'Acts of War' involve blowing something up.

Guest said:

A spy agency is supposed to spy on foreign governments. Spying on US citizens is illegal.

tonylukac said:

"couldn't go back to business as usual"

Sounds like my brother's divorce.

OortCloud said:

Seriously though... are we supposed to be bothered by this? We're bothered the NSA spies on US, we're not going to be bothered to find out one of the princes of Saudia Arabia has a bug on his phone. That's what the NSA is for.

By 'we' I guess you mean the US (you might be surprised to learn that this site and the entire internet is available around the globe). If you had more of a balanced world-view and didn't regard everybody outside of your borders as 'princes of Saudi Arabia' you might be more embarrassed by these revelations. Spying on old, stable, far less war-mongering than the us, established democracies like Holland, Denmark etc is not acceptable. Do you have any concept of how badly the US is perceived abroad? Every time something like this happens it just gets worse. I personally love the place and the people - I even married one! But revelations like this followed by ignorant comments like yours really aren't helping your cause.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

By 'we' I guess you mean the US (you might be surprised to learn that this site and the entire internet is available around the globe). If you had more of a balanced world-view and didn't regard everybody outside of your borders as 'princes of Saudi Arabia' you might be more embarrassed by these revelations. Spying on old, stable, far less war-mongering than the us, established democracies like Holland, Denmark etc is not acceptable. Do you have any concept of how badly the US is perceived abroad? Every time something like this happens it just gets worse. I personally love the place and the people - I even married one! But revelations like this followed by ignorant comments like yours really aren't helping your cause.

You know... by implying I'm American with no 'world-view' you're demonstrating the same sort of stereotype you're accusing me of having. I've spent enough time on Techspot to know that plenty of the community isn't American. We've got members from Europe to Australia with many places in-between. Oh.. and then there's that www in the URL. (funny coincidence, my wife isn't American and doesn't want to be.)

Yes, I know how American's are perceived abroad. And it's a good point to bring up, because if America is so disliked throughout the world, then why is shocking that America would treat other 'established democracies' with distrust? There are plenty of reasons others don't like Americans, not just because of spying.

Part of the reason I made my statement was because we've had, on this website, plenty of discussion about the NSA and their spying, and we've talked about it six ways from Sunday.

Let's turn it around... would you be more bothered to learn that your government was listening to you or listening to John Kerry's (the US Secretary of State) phone?

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