The U.S. government's shadowy National Security Agency spied on the Arab news network Al Jazeera and the popular Russian airline Aeroflot, according to a new report.
Germany's Der Spiegel reported the NSA hacked Al Jazeera's internal communications system and read communications from "interesting parties" and managed to breach Aeroflot's reservation system.
Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news organization that recently launched an American cable news network, has repeatedly broadcast video and audio messages from terrorist organizations including several from Osama bin Laden. The NSA called hacking into Al Jazeera's communications a "notable success" and listed that target, as well as Aeroflot, as those with "high potential as sources of intelligence," Der Spiegel reported.
The newspaper said their reporting was based on a document passed to them by former NSA contractor and fugitive Edward Snowden.
Snowden, currently living in Russia after being granted temporary asylum, has said he provided several news organizations with a trove of secret documents he allegedly stole from the NSA before fleeing the country in May. Ever since there has been a steady stream of reporting on the NSA's alleged domestic, international and diplomatic spying. Snowden has been charged in the U.S. with espionage-related crimes.
U.S. intelligence officials have not disputed that the previously disclosed spy programs exist, but have contested the breadth and lack of oversight alleged by some of the reports.