Documents from Government Communications Headquarters, the British agency involved in electronic monitoring, list about 1,000 targets, the New York Times reported Friday. They were leaked by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. National Security Administration contractor, and analyzed by the Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel.
In 2009, one target was identified as an "Israeli prime minister," presumably Ehud Olmert. A month later, the agency reported success in monitoring email traffic from the office of Israeli Defense Secretary Ehud Barak.
Olmert said the listed email address was used for interoffice communications and did not involve critical matters. He said his sensitive talks with then President George W. Bush were conducted privately.
"This was an unimpressive target," Olmert told the Times. "I would be surprised if there was any attempt by American intelligence in Israel to listen to the prime minister's lines."
The agencies apparently also monitored communications from the Institute of Physics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The GCHQ reports list about 1,000 targets. While suspected terrorists and militant groups are on the list, it also included Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the European Commission, who was in charge of antitrust activities in Europe, and the heads of foreign energy companies.
Almunia told the Times he was "strongly upset" by the monitoring.