Britain spied on foreign delegates during G20 meetings in 2009
London: Britain spied on foreign politicians and officials participating in two G20 meetings here in 2009 by using "ground-breaking" intelligence capabilities to get an edge during the high-stakes financial talks, a media report said today.
Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents uncovered by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by the Guardian.
During G20 meetings in April and September 2009 the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British the intelligence service, used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.
Some delegates were tricked into using Internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
The paper says that GCHQ penetrated the security on delegates' mobile phones to monitor their email messages and phone calls at the time of the meetings.
The documents suggest that GCHQ supplied 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning whom at the summit. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.
The documents say that the then Turkish finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, and possibly 15 other members of his party were targeted.
The aims for the meeting of G20 heads of state on April 2 was attempting to deal with the economic aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
The US's National Security Agency also attempted to eavesdrop on the Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow, according to the documents.
The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit today for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying.
The G20 brings together Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US plus the European Union.