The United Nations confirmed on Monday that it has been informed about alleged eavesdropping operations at its headquarters by the US National Security Agency.

“Yes, we are aware of the reports, and we intend to be in touch with the relevant authorities on this,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq Monday evening in New York.

Haq was responding to a question about a report on Monday published by the German-language website Spiegel Online saying the NSA penetrated the UN’s internal video conferencing system in 2012 and cracked its encryption code.

“The inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organisations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well-established [in] international law,” Haq said.

“Therefore, member states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions.”

Spiegel reported that in a secret document the NSA welcomed its illegal access to the UN network. The US gained dramatically improved data from video teleconferences and the ability to decrypt the flow of data, the report said.

The number of communications decrypted by the NSA rose from 12 to 458 within three weeks, Spiegel Online reported. In one case, the NSA caught the Chinese secret service, also allegedly spying.

(This article was published on August 27, 2013)
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