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NSA accused of hacking former Mexican President’s emails

October 22, 2013

Former President Felipe Calderon reacted angrily this week to reports that he was the victim of espionage by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) during his term in office.

Citing data leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that the NSA had been hacking into Calderon’s emails in 2010.

Writing on Twitter on Monday, Calderon voiced his “strongest objections” at having been spied on, describing it as “an affront to the country’s institutions.” The former president, who now lives north of the border and teaches at the University of Harvard, said he had discussed the matter with Mexico’s Foreign Ministry and “demanded explanations from the United States.”

“In a relationship between neighbors and partners, there is no place for the alleged practices,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement, condemning the NSA’s actions as “unacceptable” and “illegal” and calling for a full investigation by the White House.

The latest allegations of the United States spying on its southern neighbor come just a month after Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reported that the NSA had spied on Mexico’s current President Enrique Peña Nieto when he was campaigning in 2010. The NSA intercepted Peña Nieto’s emails, texts and telephone calls, as well as those of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, O Globo reported, also citing documents leaked by Snowden, a former NSA analyst who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Previously, O Globo revealed in July that the NSA had been secretly seizing web traffic and hacking into phone calls to gather information on Mexico’s war on drugs and its energy sector, while British daily The Guardian also reported that the Mexican embassy in Washington was one of 38 diplomatic missions under surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Peña Nieto slammed the news as “totally unacceptable” at the time and later said that President Barack Obama had vowed to investigate the allegations of espionage at last month’s G20 meeting in Russia.

More outrage erupted in Europe this week, as French newspaper Le Monde reported that the NSA had secretly recorded over 70 million phone calls and monitored millions more text messages in France from last December 10 to January 8, 2013.

Further data leaked by Snowden indicates that the United States has been running secret surveillance operations all over Latin America, not only targeting regional foes such as Ecuador and Venezuela, but also allies like Chile and Colombia.

Even U.S. citizens are not immune to their government’s “Big Brother” style surveillance. In August, the Washington Post published leaked files suggesting that the NSA breaks U.S. privacy laws hundreds of times every year and that U.S. intelligence agencies had a “black budget” of almost 53 million dollars for secret operations in 2013.

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