US may have illegally monitored foreign dignitaries as well as wider population
Nov 28, 2013
The latest revelation to come from the Edward Snowden leaks highlights how the NSA conducted a mass spying exercise with the co-operation of Canadian authorities during international meetings in order to further certain policy goals.
In a report by The Canadian Broadcasting Company, it is revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government colluded with the NSA during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Toronto.
Documents marked “Top Secret,” highlight how the US embassy in Ottawa was transformed into a spy centre compound for a week as president Obama met with 25 foreign dignitaries and leaders.
The NSA was aided by its Canadian counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC).
While the documents do not specifically state who the target of the huge operation was, it is thought that the exercise is most likely a repeat of what occurred in Britain just a few months earlier during the 2009 G20 summit in London. There, as other NSA leaks have revealed, the U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies, along with Britain’s GCHQ are said to have hacked the phone calls and emails of multiple foreign politicians and diplomats.
The document pertaining to the Toronto summit states that the NSA’s goal was, at least in part, “providing support to policymakers” at the meetings, namely providing what would have been private information to the Canadian and US leaders in order to give them an advantage during negotiations and debates.
The documents once again highlight how the NSA surveillance dragnet extends beyond simply protecting against security threats, and has become a commonplace tool for the US government and its allies, The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The so called “Five Eyes” have had a surveillance agreement dating back to the 1950s, it was only revealed to have existed in 2005.
If true, the latest revelations would once again show how the NSA and its partner spy agencies are routinely breaking the law. Under Canadian law, a warrant must be issued in order for the government to conduct covert surveillance on anyone, including foreign visitors. Foreign spy agencies also do not have jurisdiction on Canadian soil.
“If CSEC tasked NSA to conduct spying activities on Canadians within Canada that CSEC itself was not authorized to take, then I am comfortable saying that would be an unlawful undertaking by CSEC,” says Craig Forcese, an expert in national security at University of Ottawa’s faculty of law.
“[The CSEC is] undermining democracy here at home, while deeply damaging Canada’s international reputation as a fair and honest partner,” said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca, a Canadian civil liberties group.
The US government has refused to comment. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has also refused to comment, citing national security.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.