World media is getting rich on spy sensations - Edward Snowden keeps on leaking classified files. The former U.S. intelligence officer informed Der Spiegel and The Intercept about NSA’s surveillance program that targeted political leaders of the world.
The program codenamed Nymrod was developed to intercept various telecommunications channels, with a main focus on internet and voice services. The information was collected automatically and added into the "Target Knowledge Database". According to the documents, there were about 300 reports listed in a secret dossier on the German Chancellor Angela Merkel alone.
The list of targets included 122 high-ranked politicians, 11 of them were government leaders. Nymrod was used to spy on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was Ukrainian prime minister at the time and others from the top secret NSA list.
Snowden’s documents revealed strong interests of British Intelligence to the German telecommunication companies. A number of companies, including Stellar, Cetel and IABG, were targeted for surveillance by GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). The general goal was set as "development of in-depth knowledge of key satellite IP service providers in Germany.” It is also known that British intelligence targeted engineers and other company employees for monitoring - provided docs include a list of 16 Stellar employees, including CEO Christian Steffen. Steffen said he had not been aware of GCHQ efforts to hack into his company. "I am shocked," he said.
The German intelligence representatives say: "So far, we have no knowledge that Internet nodes in Germany have been spied on by the NSA.”
However, the actions of American intelligence can be view as totally legal from the FISA court perspective as they could get access through major US providers like AT&T or Verizon whose infrastructure holds a big share of global Internet traffic.
Even though the information published doesn’t indicate any details of intercepted communications, it still hugely impacts NSA’s image, which is already far from positive. The scope of US espionage infrastructure is truly shocking.