Eavesdropping scandal escalates: U.S. spied on Russian president Medvedev, other top politicians

Britain-based U.S. spies have allegedly eavesdropped on Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at his G20 visit in London back in 2009. Phone calls were intercepted and fake internet cafes were set up to spy at the highest diplomatic level, according to documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The shocking revelations are confirmed by a dedicated NSA paper, entitled: "Russian Leadership Communications in support of President Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 summit in London – Intercept at Menwith Hill station."

The secret report shows how American agents have decoded encrypted calls from London to Moscow. President Medvedev and other representatives of the Russian delegation were among the targets. The agency took pride in uncovering "a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted."

It was not just Medvedev and the Russians, though. Members of other delegations - including U.K. allies like South Africa and Turkey - were spied on with some officials tricked into using fake internet cafes set up specially to monitor their emails. Turkish finance minister Mehmet Simsek in particular was subject to eavesdropping and just as with the other cases there are no underlying criminal motives. Instead, there is a political one - "to establish Turkey's position on agreements from the April London summit."

The UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was no stranger to the spying. 45 experts were live monitoring delegates at the headquarters. Later internal analyst review by the NSA revealed that it was the first time that the government “had a live picture of who was talking to who.” 

Telling are the words of gratitude of the internal analysts addressing the GCHQ organizers:

It also underlines the importance of Menwith Hill, the 545-acre North Yorkshire station responsible for the ‘successful’ mission. Menwith Hill was leased to the United States in 1954 and was used extensively during Cold War times. The station contains numerous giant antenna spheres called radomes and used for electronic monitoring. It is believed to be the world’s largest station of this kind. Out of its 1800 employees, 1200 are Americans, making this practically a U.S. base.

The scandal breaks out just as current Russian president Vladimir Putin heads to a G8 meeting with U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in North Ireland.

Header image courtesy of G8Italia.
source: The Guardian

Story timeline



1. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

in Soviet Russia - conversation listens to you ..

2. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

That never gets old for me.

8. rcl4444

Posts: 48; Member since: Oct 06, 2012

Luv your work! :-)

3. ncarlosmiguel

Posts: 206; Member since: May 14, 2013

Wow this is getting more serious. Could start a war.

6. frmrVZguy

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 10, 2012

Nah ... just a tit-for-tat. @ 1996 Atlanta Olympics the private contractor security team that installed the outdoor surveillance security eqpt also set up a party room at a hotel for 'bungabunga' parties for foreign and USA VIPs. When the Feds asked for the recording media, they got back ... only the master tapes !! Beware the contractors !!

10. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Let this leak involve a country that the US is supposed to be friendly with.....and there's no telling what might happen. This....is.....why.....Snowden......shoulda....jus​t .....let.....it.....be....... You sign confidentiality disclosure papers, get read into/sworn into handling classified documents for a reason. Snowden could be in an absolute world of trouble now. Ppl that are not into the classified document industry, works force might not see this leak the way those ppl see it. Only difference between him and Aldrich Ames is so far is Snowden didnt do it for money or to betray his country on purpose. But the same type of damage might be done whether its intentional or not. I could handle a classified document, mis place it somewhere and a non cleared person finds it. Its still a security violation on me regardless. I could lose my job... Imagine what might happen to Snowden.

4. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

America and Russia have been knowingly spying on each other since the 1940's, this is neither new nor shocking news. Stick to covering tech toys PA.

5. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

BORING! Everyone have done it anyway.

7. jibraihimi

Posts: 806; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Hope 'Prism' program gets closed due to this whistleblowing by Snowden.........

9. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

And this is what I was talking about.....the damage being done by the leak .... involving other countries.... Of course the 'hero' didnt think about that....or didnt care because I know for a fact he knows about stuff involving other countries. Ppl need to just pretend life was like it was before the leak came out, and he needs to disappear without a trace.

11. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

It's amazing how so many people are up in arms over what Snowden did. This man is a HERO. He put everything on the line to show the people just how rampant the government has become since the inception of the patriot act. We need more people like this to put the government back in its place when it over steps its boundaries.

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