The National Security Agency (NSA) appears to have targeted a total of 122 world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for surveillance in a single month. The freshly released documents by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal the actual number targeted by agency’s Nymrod system to be much higher (122) than what the list earlier included (that is, the names of 11 world leaders).
“The documents also confirm for the first time that, in March 2013, the NSA obtained a top-secret court order against Germany as part of U.S. government efforts to monitor communications related to the country. Meanwhile, the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters targeted three German companies in a clandestine operation that involved infiltrating the companies’ computer servers and eavesdropping on the communications of their staff,” reports The Intercept.
Nymrod has been designed with an aim to automatically extract citations (“cites”) out of a multiplicity of sources, which include voice and computer communications.
Merkel and Syrian president Bashar Asad are all part of the surveillance database alongside more than 100 others foreign leaders. It is pertinent to note here that the list has names in alphabetical order from Abdullah Badawi, a former Malaysian prime minister, to Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian prime minister at the time.
Internal NSA documents reveal that the nation’s intelligence agency uses Nymrod to “find information relating to targets that would otherwise be tough to track down.” Nymrod sifts through secret reports based on intercepted communications as well as full transcripts of faxes, phone calls, and communications collected from computer systems.
Source: The Intercept