NSA defends foreign surveillance after new reports of targets

The NSA and GCHQ have targeted an Israeli leader and the vice president of the European Commission, according to a report

The U.S. National Security Agency defended its foreign intelligence surveillance programs Friday after news reports that the agency has targeted foreign leaders and business executives.

The NSA and U.K. spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) monitored the email traffic of Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, two Israeli embassies and Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the European Commission and its chief antitrust official, according to a report in The New York Times. The surveillance targets were disclosed in leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Other targets of the NSA and GCHQ spying included heads of international aid organizations and foreign energy companies, the news report said.

An NSA spokeswoman defended the NSA's surveillance programs, without commenting specifically on the report.

"We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of -- or give intelligence we collect to -- U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line," she said in an email. "The United States collects foreign intelligence just as many other governments do."

The NSA collects information to understand other countries' policies and to "monitor anomalous economic activities," she said. Those efforts "are critical to providing policy-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security."

The U.S. government is reviewing the NSA's activities around the world, including its coordination with U.S. allies and partners, she added.

In October, news reports said the NSA has spied on the leaders of 35 other countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internettelecommunicationeuropean commissionU.S. National Security AgencyJoaquín AlmuniaAngela MerkelEdward SnowdenGovernment Communications HeadquartersEhud Barak

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?