A report from British newspaper The Guardian’s online edition says that the National Security Agency wiretapped 38 embassies in the United States, including Japan and other foreign missions to the United Nations. This is part of a series of revelations about surveillance activities from the agency based on documents leaked by former Central Intelligence Agency employee Edward Snowden.
The controversial documents allegedly show that the NSA wiretapped all sorts of communications of foreign embassies based in Washington, including Japan, South Korea, the European Union, India, Mexico, Turkey, France, Italy, Greece and Middle Eastern countries. The documents called the embassies under surveillance “targets”, but doesn’t specify for what. If the documents are proven to be true, this is the first time that any Japanese diplomatic facility on US soil has been under surveillance.
It is believed that the NSA put eavesdropping devices at the embassies and foreign missions, particularly on their electronic communication devices like telephones, emails, etc. The information was then transmitted through cables to special antennas. The NSA also apparently monitored emails found through the servers of the nine Internet giants in the US.
It is suspected that the NSA tapped the European Union office in the US to understand the conflicts between the different EU member countries on various global issues. As for the purpose of wiretapping the Japanese embassy, it still remains unclear. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said they have no comments at this time as they still have to confirm and examine the reports through diplomatic channels. It is still too early to assess whether these revelations will affect Japan-US relations significantly.
[ via Mainichi ]
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