While NSA’s surveillance attempts are already known to the world via earlier leaks, new reports reveal the actual coverage of this surveillance and even claim that as many as 122 world leaders including Angela Merkel were under the radar of the agency. This is actually a large figure and shows that the agency’s coverage was much wide-ranging than previously thought.
This new leak was published in Der Spiegel last weekend and comes directly from the publication of Edward Snowden. The report states that over 11 key leaders of the world were targeted by NSA but also adds that over 122 world leaders were under the scanner of the agency. NSA used a system called Nymrod, which automatically collected citations from these renowned leaders and transferred it to the NSA.
Nymrod is a tool used by NSA to find information about those leaders who would be otherwise difficult to track down. The system basically scans through tapped information like emails, phone calls etc. and generate information on these leaders. Only 11 names are shown in the Nymrod document which includes leaders like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe. However, the actual number is over 120.
The list includes Germany’s Angela Merkel, but this won’t come as a surprise as earlier reports revealed that Merkel was already under the agency’s scanner. It was revealed last October, Angela’s phone calls were tapped which led to several outbursts straining the relation between the two countries. However, US have told the Intercept that it is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Angela Merkel. But this doesn’t disprove the earlier rumors which could mean NSA may have spied on her earlier.
The new reports also reveal the extensive spying operations of Britain’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ). According to the report, GCHQ tried to spy on private German companies like Stelar, Cetel, and IABG by targeting engineers and employees in order to access chokepoints to monitor their communications.
In response to these reports, Britain’s GCHQ issued the following statement; ” [Our work] is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate.”
This report further reveals the extent of the spying operations of various Government agencies; however, it’s not that surprising given that people already knew about these activities, thanks to the various leaked publications by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
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