NSA Australia allies ‘spied on US law firm’ in Indonesia row

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Source: BBC

Australian spies tapped a US law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute with the US, new leaks say.

The 2013 document obtained by the New York Times does not identify the US law firm, but says the Australians offered the intercepts to their allies at the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Previous allegations of Australian spying on Indonesia has led to worsening ties.

The alleged documents have been leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Last month, Mr Snowden alleged that the NSA conducted industrial espionage.

In an interview with Germany’s ARD TV channel, the former contractor said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.

The February 2013 document says the Australian Signals Directorate monitored a US law firm used by the government of Indonesia for trade talks, according to the New York Times (NYT).

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How intelligence is gathered

How intelligence is gathered
  • Accessing internet company data
  • Tapping fibre optic cables
  • Eavesdropping on phones
  • Targeted spying

The Australians said that “information covered by attorney-client privilege may be included” in the intelligence they offered to share with the NSA, it says.

It is not clear which trade talks were involved.

Indonesia has recently been embroiled in a number of disputes with the US – one over the US ban of clove cigarettes, another centring on the exports of prawns which the US alleged were being sold at below-market prices.

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