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Leaks detail spy orders to U.S. diplomats

Leaks detail spy orders to U.S. diplomats
65th United Nations General Assembly in the UN building in New York City on September 23, 2010. (UPI/John Angelillo) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- American diplomats' double role as spies is expanding, cables revealed Sunday by WikiLeaks show.

The WikiLeaks revelations include orders for State Department personnel to collect such data as credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and personal information from foreign officials overseas and at the United Nations, The New York Times reported Sunday.

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The directives, going back to the Bush administration in 2008, seem to blur the lines between diplomacy and espionage.

The cables tell State employees how they can fulfill the demands of "human intelligence collection" in specific countries.

One asks officers overseas to gather information about "office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes," as well as "Internet and Intranet 'handles,' Internet e-mail addresses, Web site identification URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information."

The cables, sent to embassies in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, do not show that diplomats are attempting to steal secrets. However, the highly personal information could be used by the National Security Agency for data mining and surveillance.

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