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US Says It Is Not Spying on UN Communications

The United Nations says it has received assurances from the U.S. government that U.N. communications networks "are not and will not be monitored'' by American intelligence agencies.

But chief U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky would not comment Wednesday about whether the world body had been monitored in the past, as reported recently by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Nesirky said the United Nations contacted the United States about reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had cracked the U.N. communications encryption system.

Earlier, members of a European Union Parliament delegation, visiting Washington to discuss the spying issue, said they will look into a claim by the NSA director that European countries helped it collect phone records in Europe.

German European Parliament member Elmar Brok told reporters the loss of trust between Europe and the United States is dramatic and may not be repaired for years.



The EU delegation visit coincided with the latest in a series of news reports based on leaked NSA files, this one alleging U.S. agents hacked into cables used by Google and Yahoo.

A report published Wednesday by the Washington Post said the NSA secretly broke into communication networks used by the Internet giants to move data around the world.

The newspaper said it learned of the classified program from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and from interviews with "knowledgeable officials."

The report said the NSA and its British counterpart run a project that taps into fiber-optic cables carrying data between global facilities of Google and Yahoo. The project allows the spy agencies to copy entire data flows, including the content of text, audio and video files.

Google and Yahoo issued statements saying they have not authorized tapping of their communication links.

NSA chief General Keith Alexander said the spy agency does not enter Google and Yahoo servers and only gains access to data by "court order."

President Barack Obama's spy chiefs are on the defensive over the recent news reports, which have angered America's allies and exposed the scale of NSA snooping on telephone calls and Internet traffic.

Alexander has repeatedly said all countries spy on one another, and the allies should discuss a new working relationship.

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