The United States monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders according to classified documents leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Thursday.
hone numbers were passed on to the US National Security Agency (NSA) by an official in another government department, according to the documents, the Guardian said on its website.
It added that staff in the White House, State Department and the Pentagon were urged to share the contact details of foreign politicians.
“We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” a White House spokeswoman said, reacting to the report.
The revelations come after Germany demanded answers from Washington over allegations Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was bugged, the worst spat between the two countries in a decade.
The White House did not deny the bugging, saying only it would not happen in future.
“In one recent case, a US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders,” reads an excerpt from a confidential memo dated October 2006 which was quoted by the Guardian.
The identities of the politicians in question were not revealed.
The revelations in the centre-left Guardian suggested that the bugging of world leaders could be more widespread than originally thought, with the issue set to overshadow an EU summit in Brussels.
Indian PM has no mobile phone, email account to hack
India’s 81-year-old prime minister does not own a mobile phone or use personal email, giving New Delhi “no cause for concern” about new US hacking revelations, his office said.
The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday that US spies eavesdropped on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after White House, Pentagon and State Department officials gave them the numbers.
The new revelations, based on a classified document provided by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, come amid fury from German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose communications were allegedly targeted.
Asked if Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was concerned, his spokesman replied: “The prime minister doesn’t use a mobile phone and he doesn’t have an email account.
“His office uses email, but he has no personal email... We have no information and no cause for concern,” he added.