US spied on 143-member Iran delegation to 2007 UN summit

Manouchehr Mottaki and Mahmoud AhmadinejadThe United States National Security Agency spied on the Iranian president, foreign minister, and over 140 Iranian dignitaries who visited New York in 2007 to participate in the United Nations General Assembly. The allegation was aired on Wednesday by American television station NBC, which cited former intelligence officials and a top-secret report on the espionage operation. The original report was included in an October 2007 issue of SID Daily, an internal NSA newsletter published by the spy agency’s Signal Intelligence Division. The report, which is entitled “Tips for a Successful Quick Reaction Capability”, commends the espionage operation against the Iranian UN delegation as an exemplary illustration of a collaborative effort between managers, technical experts, and analysts.

The operation appears to have been directly initiated in early 2007 by the George W. Bush White House, which asked the NSA to spy on Iran’s UN delegation. The blanket permission included espionage conducted against the then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki, who were scheduled to be in New York in September of that year to attend the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly. In response to the White House authorization, the NSA deployed a small army of technical experts and analysts to spy on the entire 143-member Iranian delegation for 19 hours a day during the summit.

The NSA teams were allegedly able to record, transcribe and analyze 2,000 conversations of various lengths per day. According to NBC, the NSA was able to intercept the personal conversations of President Ahmadinejad, a number of video conferences involving members of the Iranian delegation, as well as calls made using Skype. The latter were intercepted using a secret technology codenamed BLARNEY by NSA, while the agency also relied on bugs installed in hotel and conference rooms used by the Iranians, said NBC. The intercepted communications were subsequently examined by the NSA’s Social Network Analysis Office in an effort to map the “social networks” of the Iranian government’s senior echelons.

The Iranian government did not respond to NBC’s requests for comment. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to arrive in New York today to attend the 70th UN General Assembly debate.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 24 September 2015 | Permalink

Iran announces spy arrests after Ahmadinejad helicopter ‘accident’

Iran and its regionBy IAN ALLEN | |
Iran announced the arrest of an alleged 12-member spy network on Sunday, just hours after a helicopter carrying the country’s President was forced to make an emergency landing due to an unspecified “accident”. Iran’s state controlled media reported late on Sunday that the alleged spy ring had been instructed “to carry out terrorist acts” aimed at disrupting the Iranian presidential election, which is to be held on June 14. In a carefully worded statement, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said the alleged spy ring operated under the direction of Israel’s covert-action agency, Mossad. The statement added that the ring’s leader had been recruited through “a reactionary Arab country” in the region and his espionage and sabotage activities in Iran were directed from “a headquarters in Britain”. Unconfirmed news reports claimed yesterday that “a remarkable amount of weapons” had been confiscated by Iranian counterintelligence forces as they apprehended the 12 ring members. The government’s statement said the weapons were meant to be used to “conduct terrorist acts” before and during the June 14 election day, and to “create ethnic and religious divisions” inside the country. On June 14, Iran is scheduled to hold its first presidential election since 2009, when the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked mass demonstrations organized by the opposition ‘Green Movement’. Some have called these demonstrations a precursor of the Arab Spring, which led to the toppling of regimes in several Arab countries, including Egypt and Libya. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #500

Iran factory blast coincides with reported bomb attack on Ahmadinejad


Official Iranian denials of an alleged bomb attack on the life of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday have been followed by reports of a simultaneous attack on a state-of-the-art Iranian petrochemicals complex. Specifically, on August 4, Reuters news agency cited an Iranian “presidential office source” in reporting a strong blast “500 meters from Ahmadinejad’s motorcade”. The blast, which Reuters attributed to either a hand grenade or a homemade explosive device, occurred as the Iranian President was being transported from the regional airport of Hamadan, in western Iran, to the city’s sports complex, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. Reuters’ unnamed source said the President escaped unhurt, but subsequent reports indicated that several other passengers on the motorcade were injured. Interestingly, President Ahmadinejad’s office initially appeared to confirm the assassination attempt, but soon afterwards official state news agency IRNA attributed the blast on “an excited young man from Hamadan [who] exploded a firecracker in order to express his happiness”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0257 (assassinations edition)

  • Who tried to kill the Israeli diplomats in Jordan? “Whoever placed the bomb targeting the two armored embassy vehicles on their way from Jordan to the Allenby Bridge, last Thursday, appears to have had very good intelligence. They knew that many Israeli diplomats, who normally live in Amman without their families, usually depart for Israel for the weekend on Thursday afternoon, and they knew how to identify the two-car convoy”.
  • Iran insists in Israeli link to Mohammadi assassination. Last week’s assassination of Iranian scientist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was carried out in a “Zionist style”, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in his first direct comment on the killing.
  • Pakistanis urge US to stop drone attacks. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has renewed calls on the US to stop its CIA-operated targeted assassinations, using unmanned Predator drone attacks on Pakistani soil, as they “kill civilians and ruin its efforts to isolate militants sheltering with tribes in the border region”.

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News you may have missed #0232

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