Political Eavesdropping

The NSA was spying on diplomats, too:

President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitored private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003 to determine how foreign delegates would vote on a U.N. resolution that paved the way for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NSA documents show.

Two former NSA officials familiar with the agency's campaign to spy on U.N. members say then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the plan at the request of President Bush, who wanted to know how delegates were going to vote. Rice did not immediately return a call for comment.

The former officials said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also participated in discussions about the plan, which involved "stepping up" efforts to eavesdrop on diplomats.
If the spying was done with a warrant, it’s legal, though is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. What’s more notable is that this information was released in March 2003, but the American press didn’t think it was worth covering.

In an article for Counterpunch, media critic Norman Solomon noted that the U.S. media barely covered the U.N. spying.

"Nearly 96 hours after the Observer had reported it, I called Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale and asked why not," Solomon writes. "'We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting,' Smale replied. She added that 'we could get no confirmation or comment.' In other words, U.S. intelligence officials refused to confirm or discuss the memo -- so the Times did not see fit to report on it."

The Washington Post printed a 514-word article on a back page with the headline "Spying Report No Shock to U.N," while the Los Angeles Times emphasized from the outset that U.S. spy activities at the United Nations are "long-standing," Solomon wrote.

Solomon says his research turned up only one story which took the spying seriously -- a Mar. 4, 2003 piece in the Baltimore Sun.

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