The UK government ordered to spy on those attending the two G20 summits held in London in 2009 and planned to do so at the Commonwealth summit held in Trinidad that year, as revealed by the British newspaper The Guardian .
The Guardian based his assertions on documents released by the former agent of the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States Edward Snowden, according to which the Communications Headquarters of the UK Government (GCHQ) used “innovative intelligence techniques” to intercept the communications of foreign delegations attending the G20 summit.
Apparently, the GCHQ created cybercafes so foreign delegations could access emails, from which it collected all information. Additionally, it infiltrated their mobile phones to listen to calls and deployed a team of 45 analysts to analyze all the information in real time.
The documentation reveals that the NSA’s efforts to spy on and decode calls from London to Moscow via satellite by the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and other members of the Russian delegation.
They also reveal a campaign to hack into the computers and mobile phones for the South African delegation during their participation in the summit of G-20 and G-8, in which the country participated as an observer and member respectively.
The Guardian notes that during the summit of finance ministers from the G-20, the GCHQ identified the Turkish minister, Mehmet Simsek, and 15 other members of the Turkish delegation as “potential targets” to “determine the position of Turkey on the agreements at the summit of G-20 and determine if they had the willingness to cooperate with other countries. ”
The purpose of the espionage was to gain advantage in the face of negotiations with other delegations. “The intention is to ensure that relevant GCHQ intelligence helps the results desired by the Government for its presidency of the G-20,” reads one document.
“In a real time situation like this, the intelligence received could be used to influence events on the ground, a few minutes or a few hours later. This means that the reports are essential,” it adds.
The Guardian has indicated that the operation was launched at the highest government level and that some ministers received the information that was gathered. Spying lasted six months and was deemed “successful” by the analysts themselves.
On the other hand, the British newspaper also revealed that the United States planned to spy on delegations attending the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad in 2009 to gain advantage in the negotiations.
A GCHQ document, released by Edward Snowden indicates authorities ordered to identify threats to the security of the British delegation and gathered information on relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe and their positions on climate change.
For the first time it required the services of MI6 to spy on foreign delegations of a summit of the Commonwealth, but did not specify the objectives, scope and techniques, since it was a preparatory document.