Another Snowden Leak: The US Is Spying on Our Allies

This weekend we saw another leak from Edward Snowden, this time regarding the United States spying on the European Union’s mission in New York and it’s embassy in Washington DC. 

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.

Targets include French, Italian and Greek embassies along with Japan, South Korea, Mexico, India and Turkey.  One method of bugging the embassies is codenamed “Dropmire” in which bugs are “implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC.” 

News of the surveillance was not well received by our allies. “Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour ‘was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war’.”

Snowden also leaked a floor plan of the mission in Manhattan, where US intelligence had a bugging operation codenamed “Perdido.”

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 targeting in Washington DC of the EU delegation involved “three different operations targeted on the embassy’s 90 staff. Two were electronic implants and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions.”

Snowden is thought to be waiting in the transit zone of the Moscow airport after fleeing from Hong Kong. He has made a request for asylum to Ecuador. 

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