Mea ‘disconcerted’ by surveillance reports
press trust of india
New Delhi, 3 July
Concerned over the “disconcerting” reports that its mission were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies, India today said it will take up the matter with the US authorities.
“We have seen and studied the media reports of our embassy in Washington being amongst the list of diplomatic missions which were intrusively monitored by the US agencies.
“Obviously, we are concerned at such disconcerting reports and we will certainly raise these serious allegations with the US authorities,” a spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said here.
He was asked about India’s position on recent revelations that the Indian Embassy in the USA was among the list of 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies, as per the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower, Mr Edward Snowden.
On External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid&’s remarks defending the vast US surveillance programme, for which the minister received a lot of flak from opposition parties as well as several commentators, the spokesperson, in sharp contrast, said “our views remain what we have said previously, that we were concerned”.
But he maintained that the Minister was “only elaborating” on his discussions with the US Secretary of State John Kerry during his last meeting on the issue.
Yesterday, in Brunei, Khurshid had said, “This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages.
“It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and e-mails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping specifically on the content of anybody’s message or conversation.”
The remarks appeared to dilute the stand of the ministry which had initially termed as “unacceptable” any privacy violation after Snowden, a former CIA technical assistant, had blown the lid off the USA&’s National Security Agency’s secret spy programme, spread across various countries.
As per the leaked documents, India has emerged as the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence which used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data.
The MEA spokesperson also said “since these are technical issues, this will be taken up during cyber security dialogue and that is the right forum.”