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United Nations to grill US over alleged NSA bugging of its HQ – report

Snowden files reveal snooping on embassies and consulates

The United Nations has said that it plans to contact the US over a report that the NSA had bugged its New York headquarters.

Germany's Der Spiegel, citing secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reported on Sunday that the US had "cracked the encryption" of the internal video conferencing system at the UN in 2012.

When reporters asked the world body to respond to the report, Farhan Haq, associate spokesperson for UN secretary Ban Ki-Moon, said the body planned to get in touch with the "relevant authorities".

"The inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organisations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well established [in] international law. Therefore, Member States are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions," Haq added.

Der Spiegel said that the documents also revealed that the NSA had also allegedly snooped on groups including the EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of a programme called the "Special Collection Service". Over 80 consulates and embassies worldwide have been bugged by the service, according to the Snowden files.

The paper added that the NSA sysadmin's leaked documents revealed that even after the EU moved to new embassy premises in Washington in September last year, the NSA was still allegedly listening in. Among Snowden's documents were copies of maps of the embassy, showing the location of offices, as well as details of IT infrastructure and servers. ®

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