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US Diplomats Told to Spy on Other Countries at United Nations

Published: November 28, 2010
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Source: Spiegel

The US State Department gave its diplomats instructions to spy on other countries' representatives at the United Nations, according to a directive signed by Hillary Clinton. Diplomats were told to collect information about e-mail accounts, credit cards and passwords, among other things.

US diplomats are alleged to have been requested by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to spy on the diplomats of other countries at the United Nations. That was the purpose of the "National Humint Collection Directive," which has been seen by SPIEGEL. The document was signed by Clinton and came into force on July 31, 2009. 

The information to be collected included personal credit card information, frequent flyer customer numbers, as well as e-mail and telephone accounts. In many cases the State Department also required "biometric information," "passwords" and "personal encryption keys." In the US, the term biometric information generally refers to fingerprints, passport photos and iris scans, among other things.

The US State Department also wanted to obtain information on the plans and intentions of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his secretariat relating to issues like Iran, according to the detailed wish list in the directive. The instructions were sent to 30 US embassies around the world, including Berlin.

The detailed document also reveals which UN issues most interested the US government. These included: "Darfur/Sudan," "Afghanistan/Pakistan," Somalia, Iran and North Korea. Other top issues included Paraguay and the Palestinian Territories, eight West African states including Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal, as well as various states in Eastern Europe.

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