Der Spiegel says NSA reportedly bugged the United Nations

NSA Coin from Def Con

Above: The seal of the National Security Agency

Image Credit: Cory Doctorow
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The National Security Agency reportedly bugged the United Nations’ New York headquarters, according to Germany’s weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

This latest development in the ongoing NSA eavesdropping scandal could put a bigger strain on relations between the U.S. government and its allies, Reuters said. Der Spiegel cited secret U.S. documents that were obtained by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a fugitive from the U.S. who was recently granted asylum in Russia. Snowden’s leaks have been a major embarrassment to the NSA, which has claimed in the past it does not spy on Americans without legal cause.

Der Spiegel said the European Union and the U.N.’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), were spying targets. In the summer of 2012, the NSA cracked the UN’s video conferencing system. Within three weeks of that hack, the number of decoded communications rose to 458 from 12.

Files also show that the NSA spied on the EU’s operation in New York in the fall of 2012. Among the documents copied by Snowden are plans of the EU mission and its technology and servers.