News Release

U.S. Spying on UN Delegates: Fallout


The Observer newspaper in London has reported on a leaked U.S. National Security Agency memo outlining plans for the surveillance of both office and home communications of UN delegates from Security Council member countries, as part of U.S. efforts to gain approval for its new Security Council resolution on Iraq.

The story is now causing reverberations in a number of countries where governments have not yet taken a clear position on the resolution in the Security Council. The following people are available for interviews:

One of the authors of the Observer article, Vulliamy said today: “Allegations that this document is not authentic have been dashed; no government official has denied its authenticity. While some have taken a ho-hum attitude in the U.S., many around the world are furious. Still, almost all governments are extremely reluctant to speak up against the espionage. This further illustrates their vulnerability to the U.S. government.”
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One of the reporters who wrote the Observer article, Bright said today: “From the Chilean press, we know that Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and Tony Blair discussed the document in a recent phone conversation. A major question now is, ‘Who leaked the document?’ They clearly knew it would be damaging to the U.S. government. Was it an institutional decision or a rogue act?”

Coauthor of the new book Target Iraq, Solomon discussed the Observer story in a live interview on CNN this afternoon, saying: “We’re kind of oblivious to it still here in the United States…. How dare the United States government bug and spy on and monitor the private communications of the representatives of sovereign governments at the United Nations?” Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Anderson coauthored the recently released report “Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?” which details some of the pressures the U.S. government is applying on various governments at the UN.
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Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley notes that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations says: “The receiving State shall permit and protect free communication on the part of the mission for all official purposes…. The official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167