tuesday, 20 january of 2015

British intelligence agency ´spied´ on journalists

Journalists across a number of major news organizations, including the BBC and the New York Times, were reportedly targets of British espionage. The allegations were published by the widely-circulated British newspaper The Guardian on Monday and were based on documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

According to the report, Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) carried out an exercise in 2008, during which it gained access to a number of organizations through the Internet. GCHQ subsequently saved 70,000 emails it gleaned from the brief drill that lasted under 10 minutes.

Correspondence between reporters and editors, including information about stories, were among the data that was archived.

Messages from The Sun, France's Le Monde, the Washington Post and NBC were also retrieved.

"There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted," The Guardian reported.

However, the Monday report also noted that other UK intelligence documents had categorized investigative journalists as "a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers."

GCHQ defends policies

The GCHQ refused to comment on the article, but did issue a general statement about its operation policies.

"All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight," the spy agency said in a statement.

The latest revelations from Snowden's leaked documents coincide with increasing alarm in the European Union over impending terrorist attacks following the recent assault on the staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.

While authorities in a number of EU countries, including Belgium and Germany, have since conducted raids against suspected extremists, governments have been raising awareness about security shortfalls.

In Germany - where NSA spying has shocked the public and the government in recent years - politicians are searching for effective ways to prevent terrorism without infringing on privacy rights.

(Published by DW – January 19, 2015)

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