Charlie Savage at The New York Times has just revealed that in 2010, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, directly enlisted the NSA to spy on member nations before an Iran sanctions vote.
In May 2010, when the United Nations Security Council was weighing sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, several members were undecided about how they would vote. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, asked the National Security Agency for help “so that she could develop a strategy,” a leaked agency document shows.This information comes from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and contained in Glenn Greenwald's latest book being published Tuesday entitled No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the N.S.A., and the U.S. Surveillance State
The N.S.A. swiftly went to work, developing the paperwork to obtain legal approval for spying on diplomats from four Security Council members — Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda — whose embassies and missions were not already under surveillance. The following month, 12 members of the 15-seat Security Council voted to approve new sanctions, with Lebanon abstaining and only Brazil and Turkey voting against.
Later that summer, Ms. Rice thanked the agency, saying its intelligence had helped her to know when diplomats from the other permanent representatives — China, England, France and Russia — “were telling the truth ... revealed their real position on sanctions ... gave us an upper hand in negotiations ... and provided information on various countries ‘red lines.’ ”
Savage relates how the NSA's request to spy on these nations' ambassadors was quickly rubber-stamped by an internal court, and that the embassies of countless nations were infiltrated by the NSA, "including those of Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the European Union, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam."
However, this new information in Greenwald's book, being presented by Savage, implicates the Obama administration in the creation of a coordinated effort to enlist America's surveillance infrastructure for the purposes of developing a diplomatic "strategy" in the United Nations.
Meaning: Ambassador Rice directed the NSA to penetrate the top diplomats of countries in the UN Security Council in order to "gain an upper hand."
And it's precisely that hand which everyone should fear.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.