This U.S. Ally Let The NSA Spy At The G20

Just when Canada thought they'd had enough bad press (cough, Rob Ford, cough) for 2013. The newest round of leaked documents courtesy of Edward Snowden reveal that not only did the NSA conduct a major spy program during 2010's G20 summit, Canada – who hosted the conference — apparently went ahead and let them do it. Notes from the June 2010 meetings record that Canada's version of the NSA, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, "was closely co-ordinated" with America to turn the six-day operation into a "security command post." The memo isn't totally clear about what the NSA and CSEC were looking for, or what the precise targets for said spying programs were — just that the program was set up to "providing support to policymakers."

Just maybe not the ones that weren't America or Canada.

At 2009's G20 summit in London, the NSA apparently spied on the diplomats in attendance — accessing foreign officials' phone calls and their emails — according to yet another of Snowden's original leaks from June. To do this, the NSA partnered up with the CSEC and the British version of the NSA, the GCHQ. It's not clear that the same practices were carried out at the following year's conference in Toronto, nor if the programs continued in the years afterwards — but it's not a huge stretch to suggest that Canada and the NSA did the same thing in 2010 that they did in London in 2009. The newest round of leaks is set to create even more international tensions between the White House and all the worldly powers whose phones and e-mails the NSA is accused of hacking (and things were already pretty tense.)

The latest leaked memo memo suggests that the superficial purpose of the spy programs were to establish if there were any threats to the conference. "The intelligence community assesses there is no specific, credible information that Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists are targeting," a leaked document notes at one point. But other analysts are claiming that this is a cover for the U.S. to gain information about their international allies, most likely in an effort to benefit their own interests.

The G20 is what the original G8 group evolved into in 2009, and is considered an economic council for the world's wealthiest nations. The heads of each nations meet annually at specific summits. In 2010, it was held in Toronto, and President Obama attended along with 25 other heads of state. According to the leaked documents, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper was complicit in the NSA turning 2010's G20 forum into a massive spy program.