Report: NSA spied on Al Jazeera internal communications

The Qatar-based news agency was a target of the NSA's surveillance program, according to a report from Der Spiegel

By Katie McDonough
September 1, 2013 9:38PM (UTC)
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First pictures of Edward Snowden's Moscow airport press conference, via Twitter (Twitter)

The Qatar-based news agency Al Jazeera was a target of the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance program, according to a report from Der Spiegel.

According to documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and reviewed by Der Spiegel, the intelligence agency hacked into Al Jazeera's internal communications system, calling the intercepted communications a "high potential as sources of intelligence," Der Spiegel reports.


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One such document, dated March 23, 2006, reveals that the NSA's Network Analysis Center managed to access and read communication by "interesting targets" that was specially protected by the news organization. The information also shows that the NSA officials were not satisfied with Al Jazeera's language analysis.

In addition to cracking the airline reservation services for Russian airline Aeroflot, accessing "Al Jazeera broadcasting internal communication" was listed as a "notable success," the document shows. The NSA said these selected targets had "high potential as sources of intelligence."

The encrypted information was forwarded to the responsible NSA departments for further analysis, according to the document, which did not reveal to what extent the intelligence agency spied on journalists or managers of the media company, or whether the surveillance is ongoing.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Al Jazeera Edward Snowden National Security Nsa Snowden Leaks Surveillance