The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on the internal communications of France’s foreign ministry and diplomats and those of Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera, a German magazine said Sunday.
Der Spiegel reported that in 2010 the NSA monitored the internal computer network of France’s diplomats and that of the ministry itself by accessing so-called virtual private networks (VPN), a tool that generally offers a secure internet connection to users.
The “top secret” NSA document seen by the magazine and dated June 2010 said French diplomatic offices in New York and Washington had bugs installed on the premises and that screenshots were taken from computer monitors in United Nations offices.
The NSA was “interested in (France’s) foreign policy objectives, especially the weapons trade, and economic stability,” the magazine said.
Der Spiegel had already revealed the NSA monitored internal UN computer systems in the summer of 2012 after viewing classified documents via Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst turned leaker to the media.