The Edward Snowden saga continues: Last night, citing classified documents leaked by the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee, The Guardian revealed that the United States and the United Kingdom spied on their allies during the 2009 G20 global summits in England.
According to The Guardian, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the equivalent of the NSA, set up Internet cafes to intercept email and log keystrokes. They monitored BlackBerry communication and they also kept realtime tabs on phone communication between delegates.
The Guardian specifically says that NSA analysts were at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire trying to “decode encrypted phone calls from London to Moscow which were made by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, and other Russian delegates.”
As The New York Times reports, this new revelation hints that Snowden had access to a much wider range of classified documents than had been known.
The Times adds:
“Richard J. Aldrich, a professor of international security at the University of Warwick and the author of a history of the G.C.H.Q., said the logos of the N.S.A. and Canadian intelligence on one of the British documents suggested that they were accessible to Mr. Snowden ‘under the auspices of a joint program.’
“He said Mr. Snowden’s leak showed that British and American diplomats and politicians got a real-time feed of intelligence on their counterparts at major summit meetings. ‘Now this is integrated into summit diplomacy, almost like a newsreader getting a feed in their ear,’ he said.”
Based on the documents, The Guardian reports, this appeared to be the first time intelligence reports were being delivered to delegates in real time. The paper says that those in charge of the live monitoring received a thank you note that read:
“Thank you very much for getting the application ready for the G20 finance meeting last weekend … The call records activity pilot was very successful and was well received as a current indicator of delegate activity …
“It proved useful to note which nation delegation was active during the moments before, during and after the summit. All in all, a very successful weekend with the delegation telephony plot.”