The U.S. spy agency, NSA, bugged meetings between world leaders, including climate change discussions between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to new revelations made by Wikileaks.
The whistleblower website released new top secret documents Tuesday showing that NSA surveillance targeting world leaders had been more extensive than what was previously known.
According to a highly-classified document, NSA bugged a meeting Ban and Merkel had in 2008 during which the UN official expressed confidence in EU’s leadership role during climate change negotiations.
“Both Ban and Merkel favored holding a mini-summit in early 2009 to involve the new U.S. administration, believing that it is important to get a clear idea of U.S. intentions,” the report said.
“Merkel believed that the climate-change issue should be discussed at the heads-of-state level, otherwise it would not work,” it added.
‘Everyone at risk’
WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange accused the U.S. administration of eavesdropping on the UN to serve America’s geopolitical interests.
“Today, we showed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's private meetings over how to save the planet from climate change were bugged by a country intent on protecting its largest oil companies,” Assange said in a release.
“The U.S. government has signed agreements with the UN that it will not engage in such conduct against the UN, let alone its secretary-general. It will be interesting to see the UN's reaction, because if the secretary-general can be targeted without consequence then everyone from world leader to street sweeper is at risk," he added.
Pressure on Berlusconi
According to another highly-classified document released by Wikileaks Tuesday, NSA spied on a meeting between Merkel, the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2011.
The U.S. spy agency gained information from the meeting by intercepting communication of Berlusconi's personal adviser on international relations, Valentino Valentini.
Valentini described the meeting as “tense” and “very harsh toward the Rome government”, as Merkel and Sarkozy pressured to take prompt action on the country’s debt problem.
NSA’s digital surveillance targeting international leaders was first uncovered by American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013.
Snowden's leaked files revealed that the NSA had spied on phone conversations of several international leaders, including Germany, Turkey, China and Russia.