NSA hacking scandal widens to include U.K. diplomatic surveillance

The U.S. global surveillance leaks exposed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden continue to accumulate, according to the latest release from The Guardian, a U.K.-based news publication.

The most recent disclosure involves activities conducted collaboratively between the U.S. and British governments during G-8 summits. Documents provided by Snowden indicate that agents from the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) monitored foreign diplomats at a London-based G-8 meeting in 2009. While the extent of the surveillance remains unclear, the evidence presented suggests that operatives remotely accessed BlackBerry mobile phones and, in at least one occurrence, established a bugged internet cafe with the explicit purpose of monitoring diplomat activity during the summit.

Officials from the U.K. are no doubt seeking a way to explain the apparent spying, considering that the events took place during the administration of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. What appears to be fact, however, is the assertion that the surveillance was established at least in part with assistance from the National Security Agency.

Some of the documents indicate that the cooperative spying was intended partially to ascertain the negotiating positions of foreign governments, including those from South Africa and Turkey. A specific incident alleged by The Guardian involved the direct access of communication channels between then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and his staff.

How these latest disclosures will exacerbate the ongoing controversy remains to be seen, but it's likely that more time will be spent dealing with scandals and less effort on needed economic reforms. Investors should seek out ways to strengthen their own portfolios, especially if they are approaching retirement. GreatWealthStrategies.com has a number of resources available for independently-minded investors, so those interested should continue to explore our website for more information.