[BNM] This one could get interesting [OT]

Sam Watts bnmlist@brightonnewmedia.org
Wed Mar 19 17:15:26 2003


Times, Networks Shun U.N. Spying Story

March 11, 2003

With media attention focused intensely on the U.N. Security Council debate
over Iraq, the London-based Observer newspaper broke a major story on
March 2: The United States is apparently engaged in a spying campaign
against the diplomatic delegations from several Security Council nations.
Despite the timeliness and relevance of the Observer's scoop, some major
news outlets in the United States have taken a pass on the story.

The Observer reported (3/2/03) that the surveillance plan "involves
interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of U.N.
delegates in New York." The paper's report is based on a National
Security Agency memo that directs the agency to increase its surveillance
of Security Council nations in order to monitor their deliberations over
Iraq; a "friendly" intelligence service-- evidently Great Britain-- was
asked to participate in this operation. The principal targets the
surveillance plan is aimed "against" are Angola, Cameroon, Chile,
Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan-- nations the Observer dubs the "middle
six," whose votes are considered crucial to an upcoming Security Council
resolution that would authorize the use of military force.

In the wake of the Observer article, reports in the Washington Post and
the Los Angeles Times seemed to downplay the importance of the matter. The
L.A. Times headlined its March 4 piece "Purported Spy Memo May Add to U.S.
Troubles at U.N.," while the subhead read: "'Top secret' document
discusses bugging of council members. Forgery or no, some say it's nothing
to get worked up about." The lead sentence referred to a "long-standing
U.S. practice of spying at the United Nations." The Washington Post's
March 4 story, headlined "Spying Report No Shock to U.N.," was similarly
unimpressed with the Observer's findings.

The New York Times has yet to even mention the story, now a full week
after it first broke. The Times did, however, find a spying story it
deemed worth of coverage (3/10/03): the fact that the White House "has
asked more than 60 countries to find and expel several hundred Iraqi
diplomats that the C.I.A. and others have identified as suspected
intelligence agents." The Times put the article on its front page,
although it noted that "it is unclear what proof, if any, the United
States [government] is providing to back up its claims that the diplomats
are in fact Iraqi intelligence agents."


Sam E Watts
Web Lead Tester
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