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Todd: NSA Secretly Monitored UN’s New York Headquarters

'The timing of this couldn't be worse for the Obama administration'

• August 26, 2013 7:50 am

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NBC's Chuck Todd reported Monday on The Today Show on the revelations by the German magazine Der Spiegel that the National Security Agency secretly monitored the United Nation's New York headquarters by tapping into the U.N.'s video conferencing system.

As the White House tries to drum up support in Europe for military intervention in Syria, Todd remarked the timing of the latest news of controversial NSA techniques "couldn't be worse for the Obama administration."

TAMRON HALL: If you you can believe, new fallout this morning tied to the Edward Snowden scandal. According to a German magazine, the NSA secretly monitored the U.N.'s New York headquarters by hacking into the organization's video conferencing system. NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd is in Washington with those details. Chuck, good morning.

TODD: Good morning, Tamron, that's right. Edward Snowden strikes again in documents leaked to Der Spiegel as you just noted. Here's what we learned. The NSA was able to tap into a United Nations video conferencing system. They were able to spy on the European Union's delegation, both to the United Nations and in other places, and according to these documents, the NSA has a special collection unit. That is about spying on, using some 80 U.S. consulates and embassies as sort-of hubs to spy on various U.S. allies. Now the timing of these leaks couldn't be more precarious for the United States. First of all in Germany, they're in an election year, so this is turning into a sticky election year situation for Angela Merkel and her relationship with President Obama. But of course right now, he's in the middle of trying to get Western allies in Europe to side with him to do something with Syria, so the timing of this, Tamron, couldn't be worse for the Obama administration.

HALL: All right Chuck, the saga continues. Thank you very much.

Der Spiegel said Sunday that documents it obtained from Snowden show the NSA decoded the system at the U.N.'s headquarters in New York last summer, according to the Associated Press:

Quoting leaked NSA documents, the article said the decryption "dramatically increased the data from video phone conferences and the ability to decode the data traffic."

In three weeks, Der Spiegel said, the NSA increased the number of decrypted communications at the U.N. from 12 to 458.

Published under: Chuck Todd, Edward Snowden, Video