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US intelligence targeted Italy and France embassies: report

30 June 2013, 22:17 CET
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(LONDON) - France, Italy and Greece were among 38 "targets" of spying operations conducted by US intelligence services, according to documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper by fugitive former CIA operative Edward Snowden.

One of the leaked US National Security Agency (NSA) files said that intelligence officials targeted embassies and UN missions by implanting bugs in electronic communications gear, tapping into cables and collecting communications using specialised antennae, according to a report on the Guardian's website Sunday.

Attempts were made to eavesdrop on the French, Italian and Greek embassies in Washington while Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey were all named as subjects of operations in a 2010 document.

German weekly Der Spiegel earlier revealed that the European Union was one of the "targets" of Washington's huge Internet spy programme, with bugs hidden in EU offices in Brussels and the US.

According to documents seen by the Guardian, bugs were implanted on the encrypted fax machine at the EU embassy in Washington as part of operation 'Perdido', set up apparently to learn about rifts between member nations.

The operation against the French mission to the UN was dubbed 'Blackfoot' and the one against its Washington embassy was known as 'Wabash'.

The Italian embassy in Washington was also targeted in operation 'Bruneau'.

The EU, Paris and Berlin on Sunday angrily demanded answers over the allegations Washington had bugged EU offices.

The US authorities issued an arrest warrant this month for Snowden after he revealed details of NSA's so-called PRISM programme which collects and analyses information from Internet and phone users around the world, with access to data from Google, Yahoo! and other Internet firms.

He remains in political limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after flying in from Hong Kong last week, unable to fly on without legal travel documents or exit the airport without a Russian visa.

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