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US spied on G8, G20 summits - report

28 November 2013, 08:32

Toronto - Canadian authorities allowed the National Security Agency to spy in the country during the G8 and G20 summits in Ontario in 2010, CBC News reported late on Wednesday, citing documents shared by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The national broadcaster's website said the documents show that the NSA used the US embassy in Ottawa as a command post for a nearly weeklong spying operation while President Barack Obama and other foreign leaders were in Canada in June 2010.

CBC reported that the documents don't mention precise targets of the US spying operation but say that plans were "closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner".

The report on Wednesday did not publish the documents.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jason MacDonald, late on Wednesday said, "we do not comment on operational matters related to national security".

Break in relationships

A spokesperson for Canada's equivalent of the NSA, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, said they could not comment on the operations of Canada or its allies.

"Under the law, CSEC does not target Canadians anywhere or any person in Canada through its foreign intelligence activities," the spokesperson, Lauri Sullivan, said. "CSEC cannot ask our international partners to act in a way that circumvents Canadian laws."

A Canadian civil liberties group, OpenMedia.ca, quickly objected. "It's clear this spying was aimed at supporting US policy goals during a highly contentious summit," executive director Steve Anderson said in a statement. "This is sure to cause huge damage to Canada's relationships with our other G20 partners."

Snowden earlier this year began leaking top-secret documents detailing the NSA's collection of millions of US communications records, among other practices.

Reports in other media have said the NSA allegedly monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, swept up millions of French telephone records and hacked the computer network of Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras.

In response to the reports, the UN General Assembly's human rights committee is expected to vote in the next week on a resolution to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age.

- AP


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