This is weird.
In July 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a classified directive to U.S. diplomats to spy on and gather biometric information — including the DNA, fingerprints and iris scans — of United Nations officials.
As reported by The Guardian, the UN officials include Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his aides; undersecretaries; heads of specialized agencies and their chief advisers; heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders; and the permanent Security Council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.
The secret “national human intelligence collection directive” was sent to US missions at the UN in New York, Vienna and Rome; 33 embassies and consulates, including those in London, Paris and Moscow. In addition to the State Department, the operation involved all of Washington’s main intelligence agencies — the CIA’s clandestine service, the US Secret Service and the FBI.
The directive came to light when WikiLeaks published classified U.S. diplomatic cables, dated between December 1966 and Februry 2010, which had been sent to the State Department by 274 of its consulates, embassies, and diplomatic missions around the world.
To read the 2009 National Human Intelligence Collection Directive, click here.
Spying on UN officials is illegal, according to:
- The 1946 UN convention on privileges and immunities which states: “The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action”.
- The 1961 Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which covers the UN, also states that “the official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable”.
When asked whether Barack Obama is also responsible for the illegal directive and should resign, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said “the order is so serious it may well have been put to the president for approval”, and that “Obama must answer what he knew about this illegal order and when. If he refuses to answer or there is evidence he approved of these actions, he must resign.”
The UN is not the only target. Since 2008, i.e., the last year of the Bush Administration with Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, the State Department has issued at least nine directives to embassies around the world. In one directive, Washington ordered staff in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to obtain biometric information of leading figures in business, politics, intelligence, military, religion and in key ethnic groups.
What would the U.S. do with the DNA of foreign officials?