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Updated: July 2, 2013 03:49 IST

U.S. spied on Indian embassy too, says report

Narayan Lakshman
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In another disclosure, the Guardian said the NSA took measures to intercept communication from 38 Embassies including Indian Embassy in Washington. A file photo.
In another disclosure, the Guardian said the NSA took measures to intercept communication from 38 Embassies including Indian Embassy in Washington. A file photo.

The U.S. National Security Agency snooped on the Indian embassy and considered it a “target” along with 37 other embassies and missions here, according to the latest revelations by The Guardian, which has steadily been trickling out data obtained by the fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

This week, the newspaper reported that the NSA used “an extraordinary range of spying methods” against the Indian and other diplomatic posts in the U.S., deploying everything from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.

U.S. intelligence bosses, including National Intelligence Director James Clapper, have defended the Obama administration’s mega-scale surveillance of global Internet and telephone communications authorised by the shadowy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a necessary process for protecting American national security interests.

However, this week, the news that foreign embassies of allied and friendly nations were also put under surveillance here caused outrage, with a spokesman for the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, warning that “bugging friends is unacceptable.”

While the Indian embassy could not be reached for comment in time for this report, The Guardian exposé on the spying methods used against embassies said a key method was code-named ‘Dropmire,’ which, according to a 2007 document, is “implanted on the Cryptofax.”

This is said to be a reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at missions such as that of the European Union.

It is unclear whether the Indian embassy uses such a device.

According to The Guardian, the NSA documents noted that the machine was used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in the home countries.

In addition to India, nations friendly with the U.S. were placed under surveillance, according to the NSA documentation, and these included the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and Turkey. “Traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries” were also on the list of targets, the report noted.

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Great. USA can do whatever they want to. If we had some program watching over their US embassies in India, what could have happened?

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Jul 3, 2013 at 02:03 IST

US could, it did. You outrage.

from:  Love
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 10:30 IST

Well said Raman. Where is our great tradition and honor.

from:  shivanesan
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:51 IST

US, feeling highly insecure....

from:  Nikhilesh Katare
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:43 IST

"India strongly condemn this act by the US" will be the statement issued by Manmohan and the congress. We are tired of hearing and reading this word "condemn", can they start using a more technical or sophisticated word?

from:  Ramya
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:38 IST

tightening of security and intelligence need of the hour for India.

from:  suresh
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:37 IST

u.s is diplomatic friend n player..not emotionally ally as we people are...diplomatically he s plyaing for its own security n resources...either by hook or crook. this is good for u.states diplomatically...but not gud for u.s as a friend.

from:  sumakshbhardwaj
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:25 IST

Most unfriendly act from a friendly nation.

from:  syed Muniruddin
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 09:14 IST

US is never been an ally to any one, they just have one policy of use and throw.

from:  pradeep
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 08:15 IST

In eyes of USA, India is still third world country, why they are having friendly relations with India is to sell American goods and out dated technology.

from:  Mohammed Khader
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 07:45 IST

Many Indian civil servants use hotmail and yahoo accounts for official communication. So why worry ?

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 07:44 IST

US need not spy the way it has to do in case of China,Germany etc.The way Indians are eager to get green card, it is one green card and five indian information giver,USA would get!

from:  atis
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 07:09 IST

Disclosure of such snooping is a real time blow to the amicable Indo-
Us relations. The relations are already struggling with the issues of
Immigration visas, indifference between two nations over talks with
Taliban in Afghanistan and Headly case and in such crucial
circumstances where strategic talks are developing sensitively, Us has
again showed his hegemonic characteristics. These revelations clarify
that US has never considered other nations equal to it. Moreover India
diplomats should take a tough stand on this instead of following there
"peace policy diplomacy".

from:  Rohit Sachdeva
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 06:33 IST

It was the british first who looted india 250 years and systematically took Bharat away from present day India. It is now the US which in the name of globalisation and IT raping India sytematically and spoiling India of its remains. the Indian politicians increasingly available for sale on demand and for the right price there is nothing which is a secret or of strategic importance to the country. The so called espionage activities are only to counter check who is asking for more and where the so called secrets are going.

from:  Mouli
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 06:31 IST

In today's age of information technology the need to have it is much more than anytime before.Even diplomats are supposed not only to lie for their countries but sniff information for their own country. benefit.

from:  Avinash
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 03:45 IST

Why any foreign government expects the US to believe that they DO NOT currently spy on the US is beyond comprehension. Everyone, even allies, have secrets that are valuable to allies.

from:  Jeffrey Kraut
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 02:14 IST

No big deal! Who knows what kind of eavesdropping India is conducting in New Delhi on other countries' embasssies? As a person of Indian origin, I would be surprised and perhaps upset if India doesn't engage in it. These disclosures become bit of an embarassment initially but it fades away soon.

from:  Jacob
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 02:05 IST

I feel that we should look at this news item in an objective way. As
reprehensible as this behaviour (spying other countries) might be, it
is business as usual among all countries. It would be simplistic and
naive to assume that India doesn't spy on the US. The only difference
is that US is more effective in spying because of its access to and
possession of advanced as well as sophisticated technology.
All major countries in the world are second to none when it comes to
spying activities - only the depth and range of their spying
capabilities differ both in quantity and in quality.
So, let's not get too emotional and sentimental over this.
It's business as usual.

from:  Kavin Kanagasabai
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 01:45 IST

I guess spying on foreign missions were required to avert terror strikes as well ! Uncle Sam averted big strikes to Europe by bugging their embassies!!! Why are people being so mean?? It may have given the yanks unfair trade advantages, but then in Yankee land everything is acceptable!! Europe should now focus on UK. The British GCHQ acted in concert with the US NSA, in fact it acted more like a side-kick!! Since Britain was relegated to a third-rate power; both militarily and economically, it has found solace in Uncle Sam's shadow, being the proverbial side-kick!!!

from:  Mittal
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 01:08 IST

as another person said, the indian govt will not evince any surprise. earlier salman khurshid had said that "concern" is too strong a word to use to describe india's feelings on being monitored.

from:  varun
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 00:17 IST

With the sons and daughters of so many Indian federal and state ministers, senior government officials and bureaucrats, Indian politicians, and senior and mid-level military officers permanently settled down in the US, and also getting scholarships in American Universities, there is no need for the US government to "spy" on Indian embassies.

from:  K S Venkataraman
Posted on: Jul 2, 2013 at 00:04 IST

USA must realize that with great power comes great responsibilities. Sad that the country which has brought out that statement to vogue failed now miserably. And yes bugging friends is totally unacceptable. India must deal with this very sternly. If India stands with EU on this issue, US will surely come down to its knees.

from:  Sambath
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:52 IST

Is it not normal practice for every country to spy on most other countries? Every country is aware of this and takes steps to counter the that but one is not always successful.

from:  Eshwar
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:40 IST

So for the Americans, no law exists. Privacy, diplomatic protocols, international laws, nothing is a law which does not "protect" "Americans". So vulnerable people with an army of hackers checking every computer for "leads" into Al Qaeda. What a horrible world we have come to live in?

from:  Avinash
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:34 IST

Knowing how inefficient the Indian Embassy (and the Indian Consulate) in
the United States is, I wouldn't think the US would need major
infrastructure to tap into the data. The janitor working in the
building perhaps can get more data!

from:  Chandran Menon
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:19 IST

Spying between nations is as old as the oldest trade the world
knows ever since the days of the Jawa man to turn to become
Neanderthal and then to become a Putin of the former KGB or a
Snowden of the present CIA terminally stranded in a Russian
airport. So, worry not. As I type this post, our PSLV rocket
soars up to spy on the tinge of the scarlet pimpernel baked in
CYMK on the outer side of the ceramic mug in which Barak Obama
sips his Ceylon E. John brew relaxing in the lawns of the WH
gardens with his pet puppies and daughters. We have seen
suspected spies are killed in cold blood both in our Tihar and in
the dungeons of Pakistan, of course in cold blood. You can buy
spies like how we in India go to buy spice like cumin seeds,
pepper pearls and cardamom or garlic in any market around the
world. Look at AQ Khan, the costly spice of a spy sought after by
Kim-Il-Jung, Jacob Zuma, Erdogon, the Ayatollahs, deposed Hosni,
the hunted down Qaddafi and many others. So worry not. Spy the

from:  C. Sachidananda Narayanan
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:14 IST

As a country that spied on American satellites to test its nuclear
capabilities, India doesn't have much ethical grounds to question US
actions. Of course two wrongs won't make one right.

from:  Sanjay
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 23:01 IST

USA government is unnecessarily wasting their energy on spying Indian
embassy after fully knowing that Indian leaders are already subservient
to USA and can do anything for their masters.

from:  sada
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 22:51 IST

To the thousands who read this report, it would only seem that the
drooping Indian flag at the Embassy in Washington was weeping at the
loss of lives in Uttarakhand. What and where the US is snooping around,
even with what purpose, as far as Indians are concerned, should give a
damn. In short, our conscience is clear.

from:  Ganapati Krishnan
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 22:33 IST

They do it because if they ever need to cause disturbance then they need to know what kind of events can trigger that to happen and who should they bribe to and how much. This applies to Tibet/Kashmir/SriLanka etc.,

from:  Thennarasu
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 22:19 IST

I am sure Indian Government is not going to raise any concerns; leave
alone protest.
They have enough problems in-house and do not think the Indian Foreign
office will have any advise from the power centers who are currently
fighting over whom to blame for the man made disaster in Uttarakhand.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 22:00 IST

Why would they do that? All they had to do was ask. India would do
anything for a few more dollars for its Business Community.

from:  Punith
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 21:50 IST

India,emerging leader in world's technology should

handcuff the US secret policies of becoming allied

power.US government should answer purpose of maintaining

the spy on other nations.

from:  kalasagarreddi
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 21:37 IST

US is going to devour all in a piece meal.India cannot question within,how can it question 'The US'.Indian strategy is just to shake hands,and be happy with what we get!

from:  anupama
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 21:32 IST

Though USA cannot be compared as Lanka, but Edward Snowden can be
compared as Bibhishan.

from:  Payal Agarwal
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 21:17 IST

Nothing unusual about this . All countries does that but the only difference is that most of them are not able to match the US in technology.

from:  Krishnakumar
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 21:15 IST

to maintain its hegemony ,US want to kept other country below its feet
through taking their secret which US can easily used to calm the
aggression on these countries in future and by intimidating them to
evince their secret and can used these data as to force them to hold the
tail of US.

Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 20:53 IST

What can India do anything other than "downplaying" the whole thing, as it did in
the wake of WikiLeaks earlier 'expose' of secret cables concerning some Indian
lawmakers and their embarrassing conversations with US envoys ? Anyhow, this
gives an opportunity to our external affairs minister to make a case for a trip to US
to personally protest the US action in spying our embassy in Washington and also
do the groundwork for the visit of our Prime Minister to US, as he did earlier in
Beijing for his visit to China. But, in his Beijing visit, the external affairs minister
limited himself to do the groundwork for PM's visit there and did not think proper
to raise "border incursion" issue with China,as it would have spoiled atmosphere
for PM's visit. Will the story be similar now is anybody's guess.

from:  KS Raghunathan
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 20:23 IST

India has all moral right to seek an explanation from the US on this.
India can only be assertive and should immediately do what would save
the country's pride.

from:  Mukundan Raman
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 20:21 IST

Indian government won't be upset with this. They will ask the US why
would they fetch data in secrecy. India would be even ready to give the
passwords of their servers to the US.

from:  Mukundan Raman
Posted on: Jul 1, 2013 at 20:16 IST
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