By Sandeep Singh Grewal
Thursday, July 03, 2014
AMERICA’s top intelligence agency has been spying on the Bahraini government – one of its closest allies in the region – along with 192 other countries, it has emerged.
A document marked Top Secret reveals that a US surveillance court approved the snooping.
It lists 193 governments as well as foreign factions, political organisations and other entities to be spied on.
Almost all of the world’s governments were approved for surveillance, as well as the World Bank, United Nations (UN) and political organisations such as the Amal movement in Lebanon and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The snooping was sanctioned by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and was published on Monday, after being part of a trove of documents leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers last year by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.
“These are the entities about which the NSA may conduct surveillance, for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence,” states a report published in The Washington Post.
The US Embassy in Bahrain yesterday refused to comment on intelligence matters.
Some of the institutions targeted included the Arab League, International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, European Union, African Union, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and others.
Shura Council foreign affairs defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa yesterday said it was “unacceptable” that the US spied on one of its strongest allies in the region
“The Bahrain government is the strongest ally of the US and this issue clearly reflects the negative US foreign policy towards the Arab world,” he said.
“Gathering intelligence data from our country can affect our national security.”
He now wants to submit a dossier outlining the negative policy of the US and its reports on Bahrain to the Foreign Ministry.
“I am surprised that the US surveillance could not stop the situation in Iraq because if they did gather information, they would have known about the present situation there in advance,” he said.
An article published on July 3 by German public broadcaster Das Erste reveals that the National Security Agency (NSA) is using its surveillance program XKeyScore to target users of the traffic anonymizing software Tor and the Tails operating system, for deep packet inspection, data retention, and heightened surveillance: here.