German government buildings and charities were targets of GCHQ and NSA, says Edward Snowden

Latest disclosures also highlight key role in national security played by the small Cornish holiday resort town of Bude

Lewis Smith
Friday 20 December 2013 22:26
One of the towers of the Reichstag building, that hosts the Bundestag, lower house of parliament - according to Edward Snowden, some German buildings were targets of GCHQ and the NSA
One of the towers of the Reichstag building, that hosts the Bundestag, lower house of parliament - according to Edward Snowden, some German buildings were targets of GCHQ and the NSA

Humanitarian organisations and German government buildings are among the targets of UK and US surveillance agencies, documents leaked by Edward Snowden are said to show.

The latest disclosures from the Snowden archive also highlight the key role in national security played by the small Cornish holiday resort town of Bude.

A government listening facility on the Cornish coast had a unit that was used to analyse samples of electronic date to assess whether surveillance targets were worth the effort of listening in on their communications more frequently.

A significant amount of the Bude listening post’s funding comes from the National Security Agency (NSA), the US surveillance body, because of shared operational projects.

Among the latest targets of the NSA and GCHQ were, according to a joint claim by the Guardian and New York Times newspapers and the German magazine Der Spiegel a diverse selection that included the UN's children's charity Unicef and the French humanitarian organisation Médecins du Monde.

A potentially more embarrassing disclosure is the targeting of German government buildings which follows David Cameron’s endorsement of an EU statement in October that condemned the NSA’s surveillance of world leaders. There was widespread anger in Europe when it was revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile had been subjected to surveillance.

One of the most prominent figures to be listed as a GCHQ target was Joaquín Almunia, vice-president of the European commission with responsibility for competition policy and in charge of major anti-monopoly investigations.

Four Israelis were also identified as targets, including Ehud Olmert when he was prime minister. One of the other three was linked to both Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak, and Yoni Koren, his chief of staff.

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