The Indian embassy in Washington DC is among the 38 embassies and missions US intelligence is spying on, according to new documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
UK’s Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday that the list included missions and embassies of close US allies such as Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Mexico.
Germany and France have responded angrily calling it unacceptable.
“We are no longer in the cold war,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office.
India has not responded officially yet. But past and present diplomats said they were not surprised.
“It is standard practice for all major countries to keep an eye on the diplomatic missions of friend and foe alike. And not only embassies - also guesthouses, car services and trade mission known to be used by foreign diplomats,” said Ronen Sen, former Indian ambassador to the US, Russia and Germany.
The late RAW officer B. Raman wrote about how the CIA penetrated the RAW Chennai office in 1987. And how his agency used to get the odd photocopied document from a low-level US bureaucrat in Washington.
A serving diplomat, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “The US has been spying on for a long time - we know that. What comes as a surprise is that it has been spying on its closest allies, the Europeans.”
The US president Barack Obama has pushed back against angry responses from allies suggesting there is nothing unusual about countries spying on each other.
“We should stipulate that every intelligence service — not just ours, but every European intelligence service, every Asian intelligence service, wherever there's an intelligence service — here's one thing that they're going to be doing: they're going to be trying to understand the world better and what's going on in world capitals around the world,” he said in Dar Es Salaam, on the last leg of his Africa tour.
“If that weren't the case, then there'd be no use for an intelligence service.”
Snowden, who has been staying in the transit lounge of the Moscow airport, received a stern warning from his hosts.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Monday if the former NSA contractor wants to remain in Russia he must stop leaking American secrets.