The US surveillance agency NSA actively spied on other nations during the COP15 climate conference in late 2009, according to documents that Information newspaper obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The new documents revealed that the NSA was spying on a number of key countries at COP15 in the Bella Centre so that US officials would be as well-informed as possible during negotiations.
“Analysts here at NSA, as well as our second party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries' preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies,” the document said.
US officials well-informed
The document didn’t disclose how the NSA planned to spy at the COP15, but it did convey the importance of gaining insight to the last-gasp negotiations and discussions that tend to occur at massive conferences like COP15.
“Leaders and negotiating teams from around the world will undoubtedly be engaging in intense last-minute policy formulating; at the same time, they will be holding sidebar discussions with their counterparts – details of which are of great interest to our policymakers.”
The authenticity of the leaked document has not been confirmed as of yet – nor does Information have proof that the proposed NSA spying attempts were carried out – but a number of anonymous Danish sources present at the COP15 negotiations told the newspaper that the Americans appeared extremely well prepared.
“The Americans and the Chinese were always strangely well-informed, particularly the Americans,” one Danish official told Information. “I was often surprised about what they knew.”
NSA refuses to comment
Information’s sources were backed up by the journalist Per Meilstrup in his book 'Kampen om klimaet' (‘The Climate Battle’), concerning the climate conference in Copenhagen.
“A number of the Danish delegates often believed that their counterparts were surprisingly well-orientated about things that were only discussed behind closed doors,” Meilstrup wrote in the book.
According to Information, the NSA has refused to comment on the document, which allegedly stems from NSA’s internal network on 7 December 2009, the very day that COP15 began.