Indian missions in UN, US spied by NSA

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The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) planted bugs at the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations and the embassy in Washington, DC, the Indian newspaper The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

The NSA used four different kinds of devices to spy on the Indian diplomats and military officials stationed at the Indian missions in the UN and the U.S..

Since the spying scandal began in June U.S. President Barack Obama and other senior American officials have defended the surveillance program, claiming that they were only aimed at preventing terrorist attacks.

The Hindu reported that spying on Indian diplomatic buildings were apparently not for the purpose of preventing terrorist attacks but for political and commercial reasons.

An Indian diplomat told The Hindu that the NSA spying have incurred "extensive damage" to India's stand on many international issues ranging from UN Security Council reforms to peacekeeping operations.

"If they could implant bugs inside communications equipment of European Union office here and tap into their communications cables as well, there is no reason to believe that they didn't snoop on us," said the diplomat on condition of anonymity. "We are still assessing the damage. If they managed to copy our hard drives, nothing is left to imagination."

The revelations in late June showed that the NSA eveadropped the European Union's diplomatic missions in the U.S. and the UN. 

But the U.S. administration has made it quite clear that it would not apologize for spying on foreign missions.  

 "While we're not going to comment publicly on the specifics of alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we've made clear that the U.S. gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations," U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell had told reporters at a news conference on July 2.

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