Spy agencies closely monitoring climate change talks

I have written before about the increasing involvement of intelligence agencies in ongoing climate change negotiations between the world’s governments.

In October, the Central Intelligence Agency announced the establishment of its Center on Climate Change and National Security, despite fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers.

Earlier this month, it was alleged that the hackers who stole and leaked onto the Internet hundreds of University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit emails were operating via a Russian military and security network, a claim that has been disputed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB – Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii).

However, a recent article in Australian daily The Canberra Times provides the first mainstream indication that a Western intelligence agency is “giving top priority” to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Denmark. The paper cites “intelligence and diplomatic sources” in claiming that the government of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Michael Rudd is relying on the country’s intelligence apparatus to gain “a critical negotiating advantage” over other countries participating in the talks.

Spearheading the Australian effort appears to be the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), the Australian military’s communications interception organization, guided by directives from the country’s federal National Intelligence Collection Committee, a coordinating body founded in 2008. It is worth noting that much of the intelligence collection on climate change is not from open sources, but rather from “secret intelligence, especially signals intelligence”, which provides Australian decision-makers with “insights into what foreign governments are really thinking”, according to the article.


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