New NSA Leaks Reveal US, UK Spied on Top Officials in 60 Nations

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The latest string of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that Britain and the US spied on hundreds of top officials in 60 countries.

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The documents, cited by The Guardian and The New York Times, said that Britain’s intelligence bureau Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in 2009 collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to snoop on an email address belonging to Israel’s Ehud Olmert, who was prime minister at the time.

Other monitoring targets between 2008 and 2011 included European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia, German government buildings and several unnamed African heads of state, AFP reported.

Among the aid groups listed were the United Nations Development Programme, the UN’s children’s charity Unicef and Médécins du Monde. The companies mentioned included the Thales group, a defense company partly owned by the French government, as well as French oil group Total.

An NSA spokeswoman said the agency did not use espionage to help US businesses.

“We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” she said.

“The intelligence community’s efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities, are critical to providing policy-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security.”

However, the European Commission said if it was true one of its senior officials had been targeted it would be “unacceptable”.

Germany has been especially angered after it was reported that the NSA had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

The Guardian said the disclosure that GCHQ had targeted German government buildings in Berlin was embarrassing for British Prime Minister David Cameron since he had signed an EU statement condemning the NSA’s spying on Merkel.

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