The US National Security Agency targeted and intercepted the email communications of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and a number of European officials, according to a newly revealed document.
The document leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA along with Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spied on Olmert and European Union officials between 2008 and 2011. In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Olmert said the email was used for correspondence with his office and it was unlikely that any secrets could have been compromised. “This was an unimpressive target,” Olmert said. “I would be surprised if there was any attempt by American intelligence in Israel to listen to the prime minister’s lines.” Other spying targets included European Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia, German government buildings and French Defense contractor Thales Group. The UN development program and the children's charity UNICEF, and several unnamed African heads of state were also monitored by the spy agencies. In response, the NSA said the agency does not “use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.” “The United States collects foreign intelligence just as many other governments do,” it said in a statement. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's phone data collection program was likely unconstitutional.