Report: Russian G-20 'Gifts' Were Spy Devices

Image: Report: Russian G-20 'Gifts' Were Spy Devices

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 10:02 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Computer memory sticks and recharging cables — gifts from the Russian government to global delegates at last month's G-20 summit in St. Petersburg — were rigged to give Russian spies access to sensitive communications, two Italian newspapers reported.

The devices were given as souvenirs, La Stampa and Il Corriere della Serra report.

But European Council President Herman Van Rompuy became suspicious and had intelligence experts in Brussels and Bonn examine the devices, the papers say.

"They were Trojan horses designed to obtain information from computers and cellphones," La Stampa said.

The devices were given out at the two-day summit, Sept. 5-6. President Barack Obama attended, but the papers did not say if he was given one. Britain's Daily Telegraph said it appears only delegates, not government heads, received the gifts.

Russia has denied the allegations, calling them an attempt to divert attention from reports that the National Security Agency spied on Europeans.

"It is definitely nothing other than an attempt to switch attention from the problems that really exist, which dominate the agenda between the European capitals and Washington, to problems that are ephemeral and nonexistent," Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the Voice of Russia.

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