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U.S. Is Tapping the Phones of U.N. Security Council Members and Reading Their E-Mail: It's Headlines Around the World But Not Reported Here

March 03, 2003

The British newspaper The Observer is reporting the US is conducting a secret, aggressive surveillance operation directed at United Nations Security Council members ahead of the upcoming vote on Iraq.

The newspaper obtained a memorandum written by Frank Koza, who is the chief of staff in the 'Regional Targets' section of the National Security Agency. The top-secret NSA intercepts communications around the world.

The Observer reports the surveillance operation involves intercepting home and office telephone calls and emails of UN delegates in New York.

The memo reads QUOTE "the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council members (minus US and Great Britain of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc–the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises."

The Observer reports the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York–the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations who could swing a new Security Council vote on Iraq.

Sources in Washington told The Observer last week Bush administration officials were divided over whether to pursue such a high-intensity surveillance campaign. Some warned of the serious consequences of discovery. The operation is understood to have been requested by President Bush’s National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

  • Martin Bright, journalist with the London Observer. He is co-author of the article "US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war" which appeared in Sunday’s paper.

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