15:37 25 October 2013
Whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided a document which accuses the National Security Agency of tapping the phones of 35 world leaders.
The confidential memo reveals that senior officials in the White House, State, and the Pentagon were encouraged to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. However, the memo acknowledged that the action led to little reportable intelligence.
The memo states: "This success leads S2 [signals intelligence] to wonder if there are NSA liaisons whose supported customers may be willing to share their 'Rolodexes' or phone lists with NSA as potential sources of intelligence. S2 welcomes such information!"
"From time to time, SID is offered access to the personal contact databases of US officials. Such 'Rolodexes' may contain contact information for foreign political or military leaders, to include direct line, fax, residence and cellular numbers."
White House press secretary Jay Carney, who previously said that the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the German chancellor's communications, told reporters: "The [NSA] revelations have clearly caused tension in our relationships with some countries, and we are dealing with that through diplomatic channels.
"These are very important relations both economically and for our security, and we will work to maintain the closest possible ties."
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