NSA Hacked Calderon’s E-Mail Account, Spiegel Reports

The U.S. National Security Agency hacked the e-mail account of Mexico’s then-President Felipe Calderon in 2010, Germany’s Spiegel reported today, citing documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In the operation, called “Flatliquid,” the NSA used a server to gain access to Calderon’s account and the Mexican presidential domain used by cabinet members for diplomatic and economic communications, according to the report.

The U.S. gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations, the NSA said in a statement today, declining to comment on the specific case reported by Spiegel. The U.S. is reviewing the way it gathers intelligence to balance concern for the security of American citizens against privacy concerns, the agency said.

The office of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who became president in December after defeating the candidate from Calderon’s National Action Party, or PAN, declined to comment. At a press conference in Mexico City called to talk about the nation’s tax overhaul, PAN Senate coordinator Jorge Luis Preciado called the alleged U.S. spying unfortunate and unethical.

Allegations last month based on documents from Snowden that the U.S. had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff sparked outrage in Latin America’s biggest economy and led her to call off a state visit to the Washington.

The Brazilian television news magazine Fantastico, which first reported the allegations of U.S. espionage against Brazil, also said at the time that the U.S. had accessed text messages sent last year by Pena Nieto, who was then a candidate and front-runner in the Mexican election campaign, discussing potential cabinet picks. Mexico’s government in response summoned the U.S. ambassador in Mexico City, Anthony Wayne, for consultations, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement in which it also condemned spying against Mexican citizens.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Martin in Mexico City at emartin21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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