Memo reveals Italians are listening in on confidential G8 discussions



London-based newspaper The Financial Times says the Italian organizers of the G8 summit are covertly listening in on confidential discussions between participating leaders. The paper bases its allegation on a leaked Italian memo it received “from a senior official, who requested anonymity”. According to the memo, the hosts of the summit, which is taking place in the Italian city of L’Aquila, are breaking strict diplomatic protocol by having a team of aides secretly monitor the confidential proceedings through concealed surveillance devices. The paper claims that the monitoring appears to be aimed at “transmit[ting] quicker advice” to Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is officially chairing the summit. But it also alleges that the leaked memo, which was authored by the Italian organizers and addressed to the monitoring team shortly prior to the summit, points to the emergence of a split among the hosts, some of whom are concerned that the monitoring operation “amount[s] to spying”. Shortly after The Financial Times aired the allegations, a spokesman for prime minister Berlusconi categorically denied that there was any covert monitoring going on on the part of the G8 summit organizers. The summit is scheduled to end later today.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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