Israeli listening bugs found in UN meeting room: Swiss paper

The UN in Geneva

The UN in Geneva

Switzerland’s most esteemed newspaper has revealed that a number of listening devices, most likely of Israeli origin, were discovered in a room designated for sensitive meetings on disarmament issues, at the United Nations building in Geneva. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), quoted “a senior official” of the Service for Analysis and Prevention (Dienst für Analyse und Prävention), Switzerland’s domestic intelligence agency, who said the bugs were among several discovered throughout the building during regular maintenance work in 2006. The anonymous official said counterintelligence experts drew on “technical and geopolitical criteria” to create a shortlist of the possible culprits. Israel topped the list, which also included North Korea, Britain, China, Russia, France and the United States. Interestingly, the technical sophistication and the size of the bugging operation, indicates inside assistance from UN employees, as well as informed consent from the highest levels of the Israeli government, according to NZZ’s source. Thus far, Israeli diplomats have denied involvement in the operation, while UN and Swiss authorities have declined comment. The last major bugging scandal at a UN building was in 2003, when a joint British-American intelligence operations team illegally bugged the UN offices of Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, and Pakistan. Last month, Markus Seiler, the head of the new Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, which combines the country’s foreign and domestic intelligence services, called Switzerland “a stomping ground for secret services”, and called for more counterintelligence personnel.

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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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