British government monitored foreign officials' communications at 2009 G20 summit


British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) sits next to US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) during the opening session of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting at Lancaster House in London on April 11, 2013.



Does the spying ever stop? 

Apparently not, as the Guardian reported Monday that foreign officials had their communications monitored at the behest of the British government during London's 2009 G20 summit. 

The news came as Britain prepared to host the G8 summit this week, a likely venue for some tough questions about the reaches of surveillance by the UK's Government Communications Headquarters and its American counterpart, the National Security Agency. 

The tactics reportedly used in 2009 included 1) setting up internet cafes where email interception and key-logging programs were put in place, 2) hacking delegates' smartphones to monitor their correspondence and 3) providing a 24-hour summary of phone calls at the summit to 45 analysts.

British Prime Minister David Cameron declined to comment on the allegations, which were revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowdenthe Belfast Telegraph reported

"We never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now," Cameron said. "I don't make comments on security or intelligence issues - that would be breaking something that no government has previously done."

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Among those who were closely monitored in 2009? Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who met US President Barack Obama for the first time during the G20. 

Turkish finance minister and former Merrill banker Mehmet Simsek was also reportedly monitored, and both Turkey and Russia have expressed outrage over the Guardian's reports

"The allegations in the Guardian are very worrying … If these allegations are true, this is going to be scandalous for the UK," said a spokesman from Turkey's foreign ministry. "At a time when international cooperation depends on mutual trust, respect and transparency, such behavior by an allied country is unacceptable."

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