UN plans to contact US over Der Spiegel's NSA bugging allegations


Members of the UN Security Council vote during a meeting on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea January 22, 2013 at the United Nations in New York.



American intelligence agencies bugged the United Nations, hacking into video conferences and listening in on member states' private conversations, according to a new report in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The report alleges that the National Security Agency spied on the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN member states.

The diplomatic surveillance was revealed by documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

"The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)," Der Spiegel quoted one document as saying.

Responding to the report Monday, the United Nations said it will contact the United States about the alleged bugging.

"We're aware of the reports and we intend to be in touch with the relevant authorities on this," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. Citing international law such as the 1961 Vienna Convention which governs diplomatic relations, Haq said, "member states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions."

Earlier reports showed that the NSA had reportedly bugged the embassies and missions of 80 different nations, including European allies, which were considered "targets."

More from GlobalPost: New declassified documents show NSA scooped up tens of thousands of private emails

The surveillance was reportedly carried out under a program known as the "Special Collection Service."

The new EU building in New York was codenamed "Apalachee" under the program, while the EU embassy in Washington was known as "Magothy."

Der Spiegel said the program seems to have little to do with preventing terrorism.

Revelations of the NSA's surveillance program have strained relations between the US and EU, and become an election issue in Germany, with reports suggesting that the German government knew more about the spying than it has let on.