NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided us with an enormous wealth of information regarding government spying activities. New leaked documents suggests the agency has been tapping some unusual targets like European economic regulators and charitable organizations that have no apparent connection to US national security.
One target was Joaquín Alumnia, the European Commission vice president. According to the report, Almunia was spied on by the NSA during his time overseeing the European Union's economic and financial affairs. He would later go on to head up antitrust cases against Microsoft, Google and other big tach giants, after taking authority over the European Commission's antitrust department.
As per usual, the NSA has it reasons for keeping a close eye on targets, whether they appear to be of interest to national security or not. When speaking to the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times, the NSA claimed the intelligence community spied on economic targets in order "to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities," which it says are "critical to providing policy makers with the information they need." The NSA continued by saying, "the US government is undertaking a review of our activities around the world – looking at, among other issues, how we co-ordinate with our closest allies and partners."
The recent leaked documents point at political and economic officials targeted across more than 60 countries, including a French energy company, the defense minister and prime minister of Israel, as well as the international charitable organization Unicef.
(Image via AP/Rick Bowmer)