NSA spied on 35 world leaders according to leaked document

The document said that the numbers yielded little "reportable intelligence"

The U.S. monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, according to a National Security Agency document provided by its former contractor, Edward Snowden, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The names of the world leaders is not disclosed in the document of 2006, and access to the 200 phone numbers of the leaders provided "little reportable intelligence," as the phones were apparently not used for sensitive discussions. The numbers, however, provided leads to other phone numbers that were subsequently targeted, according to the document.

The document is likely to add to concerns about NSA surveillance, including its monitoring of phones of political leaders. German officials said this week that U.S. intelligence agencies may have spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. There have also been reports that the U.S. hacked into the email server of Mexico's former president Felipe Calderon while he was in office, and also spied on Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.

A report in French newspaper Le Monde alleged that the NSA recorded data relating to over 70 million phone calls involving French citizens over a period of 30 days. U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper said the allegation that the NSA had collected recordings of French citizens' telephone data was false.

Alarmed at the developments, some countries are considering measures. Brazil has, for example, proposed in-country data storage requirements under an Internet bill before the country's Parliament.

The phone numbers of leaders were handed over to the NSA as part of a policy encouraging people to provide the direct, residence, mobile phone and fax numbers of foreign political and military leaders.

The note asking for "targetable" phone numbers was addressed to "customer" departments, which the Guardian said includes the White House and the Pentagon.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationsecurityU.S. National Security Agencygovernmentprivacy

More about IDGNational Security AgencyNSA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place