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 blames US, Saudis over defection of Iranian nuclear scientist

Manouchehr Mottaki

M. Mottaki

Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, has accused American and Saudi Arabian intelligence agencies of complicity in the recent disappearance of an Iranian nuclear scientist. Mottaki’s comments followed revelations in London-based Arabic-language daily, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, that the scientist, Shahram Amiri, defected to the West earlier this year. The paper said the researcher, who worked for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program, defected during a hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It also claimed that another Iranian nuclear scientist, whose identity has not yet emerged, has disappeared, and may have defected, during a recent visit to the Republic of Georgia. The rumored disappearances may be part of Israel’s ongoing secret war on Iran’s nuclear program, which British newspaper The Daily Telegraph described last February as a covert “decapitation program” by Israeli intelligence, targeting Iran’s nuclear scientists. Read more of this post

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