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Sunday, 30 March 2014 | MYT 10:10 AM

Der Spiegel: NSA surveillance list of leaders included former PM Abdullah Badawi

BERLIN: Secret documents disclosed by German newspaper Der Spiegel on Saturday showed former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's (pic) name listed among leaders reportedly targeted by the National Security Agency (NSA) for surveillance. 

The report, however, did not give any further details on the surveillance of the former Malaysian premier. 

More than one hundred names of foreign leaders figure in the list. 

A series of classified files from the archive provided to reporters by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also seen by The Intercept, revealed that the NSA included German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

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 US government efforts to monitor communications related to the country. 

Der Spiegel, which has already published stories on the vast extent of American and British targeting of German people and institutions, broke the news last October that Merkel's cellphone calls were being tapped by the NSA - sparking a diplomatic backlash that strained US-Germany relations. 

The new document revealed by the paper is dated 2009. 

Merkel appears to have been placed in the NSA's so-called "Target Knowledge Base", which Der Spiegel described as the central agency database of individual targets. 

An internal NSA description states that employees can use it to analyse "complete profiles" of targeted people. 

A classified file demonstrating an NSA search system named Nymrod shows Merkel listed alongside Syria's Bashar al-Assad. 

Only 11 names are shown on the document, with Abdullah Badawi's heading the list. The list is in alphabetical order by first name - but it indicates that the full list contains 122 names, Der Spiegel said. 

Other names on the list include Belarus's Alexander Lukashenko and Columbia's Alvaro Uribe. 

The NSA uses the Nymrod system to "find information relating to targets that would otherwise be tough to track down," according to internal NSA documents. 

Nymrod sifts through secret reports based on intercepted communications as well as full transcripts of faxes, phone calls, and communications collected from computer systems. 

The German paper said NSA on Friday declined to comment to The Intercept about its role in conducting surveillance of Germany and deferred questions to the National Security Council and the Justice Department. The DOJ had not responded at the time of publication. 

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden told The Intercept that the Obama administration was "not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel." 

However, she did not deny that the surveillance had occurred in the past - and declined to rule out spying on other senior German officials going forward. - The Straits Times/ANN


Tags / Keywords: Der Spiegel , Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi , National Security Agency


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