LONDON: Hours before the start of G8 summit, the documents uncovered by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that back in 2009 US spies intercepted top-secret communication of then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to London.
The shocking news was broken by The Guardian which has seen the documents. It also revealed that a UK intelligence agency, GCHQ, monitored foreign politicians and intercepted their emails during the 2009 G20 summit held in the British capital, which among others was attended by Medvedev. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by UK intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
The 39th G8 summit is scheduled to start on Monday in the small Northern Irish resort town of Lough Ernewith all the nations who were present at the 2009 London meeting attending.
According to the leaked documents viewed by the British paper, the details of the intercept of Medvedev’s communications were set out in a briefing prepared by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and shared with high-ranking officials from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The document was drafted in August 2009, four months after the Russian president attended the London G20 summit.
In the wake of the scandalous leak of NSA documents, US officials have been defending massive surveillance tactics stressing that they were crucial in the fight against terrorism. However, the recent revelations about the actions of the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) suggests this was simply a case of espionage.
During theLondonsummit, GCHQ used what one document described as “ground-breaking intelligence capabilities” to intercept the communications of the foreign delegations. The spy agency set up internet cafes where they used an email interception program and key-logging software to monitor delegates’ use of computers. The security of delegates’ BlackBerrys had been penetrated to enable GCHQ see their messages and phone calls.
Among other targets of surveillance at the summit was the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party.