Today, 23 February 2016 at 00:00 GMT [updated 12:20 GMT], WikiLeaks publishes highly classified documents showing that the US National Security Agency bugged a private climate change strategy meeting; between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin; singled out the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for long term interception targetting his Swiss phone; singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Johann Human, and targetted his Swiss phone for long term interception; stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relationship with US President Barack Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu; intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the US "extort[ing]" them at the WTO Doha arounds (the talks subsequently collapsed); explicitly targetted five other top EU economic officials for long term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgium phone numbers; explicitly targetted the phones of Italy's ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long term interception; and intercepted details of a critical private meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berluscon, where the latter was told the Italian banking system was ready to "pop like a cork".
Some of the intercepts are classified TOP-SECRET COMINT-GAMMA and are the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said "Today we proved the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's private meetings over how to save the planet from climate change were bugged by a country intent on protecting its largest oil companies. Back in 2010 we revealed that the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered her diplomats to steal the UN leadership's biometric data and other information. The US government has signed agreements with the UN that it will not engage in such conduct. It will be interesting to see the UN's reaction, because if the United Nations Secretary General, whose communications and person have legal inviolability, can be repeatedly attacked without consequence then everyone is at risk."