There are more reports of the NSA’s international spying efforts after German newspaper Der Spiegel claimed that the US intelligence agency hacked into the internal communication system at Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, a feat that helped it intercept dialogue with “interesting targets.”
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden provided the newspaper with internal documents, dated from 2006, that state that the accessing of Al Jazeera communications was a “notable success.” They do not, however, explain the extent to which the agency spied on Al Jazeera staff, or for how long it intercepted messages from the broadcaster.
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Al Jazeera has long published audio and video messages directly from Al Qaida and its leadership, so it’s quite likely that the NSA’s efforts were aimed at getting hold of dialogue between the two parties, and obtaining new information and data about the terrorist organization and its movements.
It’s not clear what tangible success that hacking brought, but this is yet another example of the global footprint that the NSA’s cyberspying activities spanned — and, most controversially, it shows that it spied on journalists.
British spying agency GCHQ is one international organization that we know worked closely with the NSA. Snowden claims that the NSA hacked into China’s mobile operators to steal “millions” of text messages, and its footprint is thought to include countless other operations in nations across the world.
➤ Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications [Der Spiegel] | Via The Verge
Headline image via Alex Wong/AFP/Getty Images