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Report: UK spies hacked foreign diplomats

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Posted June 18, 2013
This June 9, 2013 photo provided by The Guardian newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the U.S. National Security Agency, in Hong Kong. The Guardian newspaper says that the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ repeatedly hacked into foreign diplomats' phones and emails when the U.K. hosted international conferences, even going so far as to set up a bugged Internet café in an effort to get an edge in high-stakes negotiations. The Guardian cites more than half a dozen internal government documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the basis for its reporting on GCHQ's intelligence operations. (AP Photo/The Guardian, File)

This June 9, 2013 photo provided by The Guardian newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the U.S. National Security Agency, in Hong Kong. The Guardian newspaper says that the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ repeatedly hacked into foreign diplomats’ phones and emails when the U.K. hosted international conferences, even going so far as to set up a bugged Internet café in an effort to get an edge in high-stakes negotiations. The Guardian cites more than half a dozen internal government documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the basis for its reporting on GCHQ’s intelligence operations. (AP Photo/The Guardian, File)

The Guardian newspaper says the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ repeatedly hacked into foreign diplomats’ phones and emails when the U.K. hosted international conferences, even going so far as to set up a bugged Internet café in an effort to get an edge in high-stakes negotiations.

The report—the latest in a series of revelations which have ignited a worldwide debate over the scope of Western intelligence gathering—came just hours before Britain was due to open the G-8 summit Monday, a meeting of world’s leading economies that include Russia, in Northern Ireland. The allegation that the United Kingdom has previously used its position as host to spy on its allies and other attendees could make for awkward conversation as the delegates arrive for talks.

“The diplomatic fallout from this could be considerable,” said British academic Richard J. Aldrich, whose book “GCHQ” charts the agency’s history.

Speaking at the G-8 summit, Prime Minister David Cameron declined to address the issue.

“We never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now,” he said. “I don’t make comments on security or intelligence issues. That would be breaking something that no government has previously done.”

GCHQ also declined to comment on the report.

The Guardian cites more than half a dozen internal government documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the basis for its reporting on GCHQ’s intelligence operations, which it says involved, among other things, hacking into the South African foreign ministry’s computer network and targeting the Turkish delegation at the 2009 G-20 summit in London.

Read more at: Phys.org

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