U.S. Spying at the UN

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

U.S. Spying at the UN

WASHINGTON - Reuters reports that UN Ambassador Susan Rice said Monday: "Let me be very clear -- our diplomats are just that, they're diplomats." Reuters noted that "Rice declined to comment on the details of the cables."

KATHARINE GUN
Available for a limited number of interviews, Gun is a former British government employee who faced two years imprisonment in England for leaking a U.S. intelligence memo before the invasion of Iraq. The memo indicated that the U.S. had mounted a spying "surge" against U.N. Security Council delegations in early 2003 in an effort to win approval for an Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo -- published by the British newspaper The Observer on March 2, 2003 -- was big news in parts of the world, but almost ignored in the United States. The U.S. government then failed to obtain a U.N. resolution approving war, but still proceeded with the invasion.

Gun said today: "The U.S. and British governments were claiming that they were not wanting war. I had access to a secret document that showed that they were in effect attempting to blackmail other U.N. members into voting for a second resolution that would approve war. The public deserved to know the truth about what their governments were doing. I wanted to prevent the deaths that would -- and sadly, did -- result from an invasion of Iraq." More information on Gun's case is at accuracy.org/gun.

JAMES PAUL
Paul is executive director of the Global Policy Forum, a think tank focusing on the UN. He said today: "The WikiLeaks cables present us with the raw arrogance of power by the United States at the UN. We learn about diplomats’ responsibility for incredibly intrusive information collection directed at the Secretary General and his executive office, the Secretariat, Security Council members and diplomatic missions more generally, including everything from credit card numbers to biometric data.

"For U.S. diplomats to comply with the directives of Secretary of State Clinton, it’s hard to imagine that they have any time left over for ordinary diplomacy! There has been ample prior evidence of U.S. espionage and pressure on the UN and the diplomatic community, but this goes off the chart. It is utterly mafia-like, ruthless, and disgusting."

Background: See Colum Lynch piece "WikiLeaks reveals vast U.S. information-gathering operation at the UN"

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