By Carlo Muñoz - 08/25/13 03:41 PM EDT
U.S. intelligence officials bugged the United Nations headquarters in New York, according to a report from a German publication.
Operatives from the National Security Agency were able to decode the U.N.’s encrypted email system and hack into the organization's closed video teleconferencing system to track communications by U.N. members, the report by Der Spiegel said.
Electronic listening devices were planted in U.N. offices in New York as part of an NSA bugging program known as the “Special Collection Service.”
“The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,” according to information on the program leaked to the magazine.
On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said lawmakers remain largely in the dark over ongoing domestic intelligence programs run by the NSA.
“The American people want to know that those of us who are elected ... understand fully what's happening here. I don't think we do,” Corker said Sunday on Fox News.
“I would imagine there are even members of the [congressional] intelligence committee themselves that don't fully understand the gamut of things that are taking place,” he added.
On Wednesday, intelligence officials admitted the NSA improperly spied on people in the United States with no connection to terrorism beginning in 2008.
The NSA collected as many as many as 56,000 emails from Americans before the mistake was identified.