Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

G20 Blackberry spying claims cast shadow over Cameron's G8 summit curtain-raiser

President Obama arrives in Belfast
President Obama arrives in Belfast
Protesters from Amnesty International dressed in orange jump suits and masks, hold placards requesting that President of the United States, Barack Obama, closes Guantanamo, as they congregate outside the Waterfront, Belfast, ahead of the G8 summit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 16, 2013. See PA story POLITICS G8. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 16: U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Malia walk to Marine One as they depart the White House on June 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Northern Ireland to take part in the G8 Summit. (Photo by Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd R) is welcomed by a Japanese embassy defence attache as he arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit at Belfast International Airport on June 16, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Suzanne Plunkett-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: Flags of Japan and the United Kingdom are seen on the aircraft carrying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit at Belfast International Airport on June 16, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Suzanne Plunkett-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walks with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers (2nd R) and Wing Commander Faye Wiseman (L) after arriving to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit, at the 38th Irish Brigade Flying Station Aldergrove on June 16, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and it's expected that talks will focus on international issues including creating a fairer tax system for the tax paid by corporations.(Photo by Suzanne Plunkett-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: A police boat patrols water close to the Kellyhevlin Hotel which is being used as the G8 media centre close to the G8 venue of Lough Erne on June 16, 2013 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: A boat sails in water close to the Kellyhevlin Hotel which is being used as the G8 media centre close to the G8 venue of Lough Erne on June 16, 2013 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit at Belfast International Airport on June 16, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and it's expected that talks will focus on international issues including creating a fairer tax system for the tax paid by corporations.(Photo by Suzanne Plunkett-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 16: Oxfam charity volunteers wear masks depicting the G8 leaders during a photocall outside City Hall on June 16, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Prime Minister David Cameron walks with Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers (second right) and Wing Commander Faye Wiseman (left) after arriving at Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland, ahead of the G8 Summit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 16, 2013. See PA story POLITICS G8. Photo credit should read: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (second right), is welcomed by a Japanese embassy defence attach?, as he arrives at Belfast International Airport, as G8 leaders from around the world begin to arrive in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 16, 2013. See PA story POLITICS G8. Photo credit should read: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves as he arrives at Belfast International Airport, as G8 leaders from around the world begin to arrive in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 16, 2013. See PA story POLITICS G8. Photo credit should read: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 16: Marine One takes off with U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Malia from the South Lawn of the White House on June 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Northern Ireland to take part in the G8 Summit. (Photo by Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)
Anti G8 protesters set up camp in Enniskillen town centre. Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Protesters from Amnesty International dressed in orange jump suits and masks hold placards demanding that Barack Obama, closes Guantanamo, as they congregate outside the Waterfront, Belfast, ahead of the G8 summit. Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Wire
US President Barack Obama holds a baby at a Father's Day luncheon to celebrate the importance of strong families and mentorship in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Police officers including members of the PSNI undergo riot training and the use of dogs at Longmoor Army Camp. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
A woman walks past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a deli store, in Fivemiletown, Northern Ireland. Organizers of the G8 have spent weeks sprucing up the facades of businesses all around the County Fermanagh venue. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Enniskillen Town Centre gets a face lift ahead of the G8. By John McVitty
A woman walks past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a cafe, in Enniskillen. Organizers have spent weeks sprucing up the facades of businesses all around the County Fermanagh venue.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Temporary cell blocks which have been built at Omagh police station in Co Tyrone, which are being made available for G8 summit protests. By Paul Faith/PA Wire
Temporary cell blocks which have been built at Omagh police station in Co Tyrone, which are being made available for G8 summit protests. Paul Faith/PA Wire
Perspex on the windows at Belfast City Hall ahead of the G8 that will take place next week at Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Lough Erne Golf Resort of hotel manager Ferghal Purcell in one of the plush rooms that will host the world leaders. Cliff Donaldson/Lough Erne Golf Resort/PA Wire
Chefs at Fermanagh's Lough Erne Resort have been working on the G8 menus for four months. Local delicacies will include yellowman ice-cream with a dulse garnish, Toomebridge eels with a sweet red onion marmalade and, of course, the Ulster fry with black and white pudding.
Razor wire which has been laid in fields near the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh
Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, observes the final G8 security arrangements at the Lough Erne resort, with Chief Inspector Sue Ann Steen. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Police man a checkpoint at the entrance to Lough Erne Hotel resort. Paul Faith/PA Wire
Divers check water features in fields near Lough Erne Hotel. Paul Faith/PA Wire
PSNI officers patroling on Lough Erne ahead of the G8 Summit. By John McVitty.
An anti-G8 mural unveiling at the back of Free Derry Corner. By John Black
The launch of the 'Big IF Belfast' concert at Botanic Gardens. The IF campaign will call on the world's most powerful leaders to ensure the eradication of world hunger is top of the agenda. Photo: Neil Harrison
The new banner unveiled for the G8 protest at Belfast City Hall organised by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions
BBC journalist,Chris Buckler films a segment to promote Fermanagh on BBC Breakfast. Interviewing Lough Erne Resorts Head Chef, Noel McMeel and General Manager, Ferghal Purcell. Photo by Raymond Humphreys
Local artist Peter Meanley and the Ulster Museum's Curator of Applied Art Elise Taylor admire the eight bespoke Toby jugs of the G8 leaders. The jugs took 5 months to create and are currently on display at the Ulster Museum. Photographer Brian Thompson / presseye.com
A car makes its way along a security fence erected around the G8 venue
Police officers including members of the PSNI undergo riot training including the use of a water cannon at Longmoor Army Camp
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland
Oxfam's 'Big Head' G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland
Security in fields near the Lough Erne resort
A ring of steel is erected on the A46 Lough Shore Road in preparation
Police officers including members of the PSNI undergo riot training including the use of dog handlers at Longmoor Army Camp
A water Cannon leaves a security check point near the Lough Erne resort
Belfast's M2 and Oxford Street in the city centre will be shut at rush hour on Monday, June 17 for Barack Obama's welcome visit.
Toyoshige Sekiguchi, the anti-capitalist Buddhist monk who has walked from Belfast to Enniskillen to bring his campaign for nuclear disarmament to the G8 leaders
Armed police guard McDonalds, a previous target for G8 protestors as thousands protest in Belfast against the G8 summit. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
G8 protester Ziggy believes many protesters have been put off travelling to Northern Ireland
G8 protester Andrew Carnegie with his dog Grace
Armed PSNI officers alongside officers from police forces around the UK stand guard in the fields over looking the Lough Erne resort, Enniskillen. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
PSNI officers alongside officers from police forces around the UK stand guard in Enniskillen town. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Armed police guard McDonalds, a previous target for G8 protestors as thousands protest in Belfast against the G8 summit. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
An anti-fracking boat pictured on Lough Erne. Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
G8 protesters Darren Carnegie(left) and his father Andrew from Glasgow pictured in Enniskillen town centre. Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Police stand on a bridge over the River Erne near the location of the G8 summit on June 16, 2013 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A police patrol boat passes under a police vehicle on a bridge over the River Erne near the location of the G8 summit on June 16, 2013 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A police officer patrols near to the location of the G8 summit on June 16, 2013 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 group of world leaders will meet tomorrow in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

David Cameron refused to comment today on reports that GCHQ - Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency - mounted an intensive spying operation on foreign politicians attending two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.

The reports have the potential to embarrass the Prime Minister as he hosts leaders from the world's most powerful countries at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland - the biggest gathering of international statesmen to take place in the UK since the London G20.

He may face awkward questions from guests including US President Barack Obama, Russia's Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan over whether their communications will be secure during the two-day G8 meeting at Lough Erne, which begins today.

The Guardian said leaked documents show that in 2009 delegates had their computers monitored and phones intercepted on the orders of the British Government.

The intelligence agencies were even said to have set up internet cafes specifically to enable them to read the emails of those taking part in the summit.

Asked whether he could guarantee his guests that no similar operation was in place at Lough Erne, Mr Cameron told Sky News: "We never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now. I don't make comments on security or intelligence issues - that would be breaking something that no government has previously done."

According to the Guardian, traditionally friendly powers such as South Africa and Turkey were among the countries targeted during the course of the operation in 2009.

The paper said the documents suggested that the operation was sanctioned at a senior level in the government of then prime minister Gordon Brown and that the intelligence obtained was passed to ministers.

Details of the eavesdropping were contained in documents obtained by Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower responsible for a string of disclosures about US intelligence operations.

During the course of the two summits in April and September 2009, GCHQ deployed what one document said were "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to monitor the communications of the visiting delegation.

They were said to have enabled a team of 45 analysts to be provided with live round-the-clock summaries of who was phoning whom during the proceeding.

The methods used included penetrating security of delegates' BlackBerrys in order to monitor their emails and phone calls.

Internet cafes were set up by GCHQ and MI6 able to "extract key logging info" for delegates, and provide the agencies with "sustained intelligence options against them" even after the summits were over.

The Turkish finance minister - and possibly 15 other members of his party - were among those targeted, according to the documents.

There was what the Guardian described as a sustained campaign to penetrate the computers of the South Africans - which had access to their foreign ministry network.

British intelligence also received reports relating to an NSA attempt to listen in on the phone calls of Russian leader Dmitri Medvedev as they passed through the satellite links to Moscow.

A briefing paper prepared for GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban, dated January 9 2009, in preparation for a meeting with then foreign secretary David Miliband, set out the government's priorities for the G20 leaders' summit in April of that year.

"The GCHQ intent is to ensure that intelligence relevant to HMG's desired outcomes for its presidency of the G20 reaches customers at the right time and in a form which allows them to make full use of it," it noted.

A week after the September summit of finance ministers, an internal review concluded: "The call records activity pilot was very successful and was well received as a current indicator of delegate activity...

"It proved useful to note which nation delegation was active during the moments before, during and after the summit. All in all, a very successful weekend with the delegation telephony plot."

There was no immediate response from the Government to the report.

GCHQ previously said in relation to an earlier report about its involvement in NSA operations that its work was carried out "in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate".

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