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UN to Ask US About Spying Report

A U.N. spokesman says the world body plans to ask the United States about a report the National Security Agency bugged its New York headquarters.

Based on what it said were documents obtained from fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a German news magazine reported Sunday the United States succeeded in gaining access to U.N. communications systems last year.

During a briefing Monday, the U.N. spokesman said the organization would "reach out'' to U.S. officials about the report, as it has in the past when such allegations have been raised.

The spokesman said international law protects functions of the United Nations, diplomatic missions and other international organizations. He said U.N. members are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions.

The report in the weekly Der Spiegel also said the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, were among the organizations targeted by U.S. intelligence.

According to the report, the National Security Agency runs an eavesdropping program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide.

A 1961 Vienna Convention regulates diplomatic issues and status among nations and international organizations. Among other things, it says a host country cannot search diplomatic premises or seize its documents or property. It also says the host government must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country.

But wiretapping and eavesdropping have been rampant for decades among many countries, most dramatically between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.