Based on the documents, it appears that Washington has been spying on Antonio Guterres. Multiple files detail Mr. Guterres’s and his deputy’s off-the-record conversations. It’s the most recent disclosure from a leak of classified data, and it has US authorities investigating.
Mr. Guterres’s forthright thoughts on the situation in Ukraine and several African leaders can be found in the documents. One such paper details the Black Sea grain deal, which the United Nations and Turkey negotiated in July amid concerns about a worldwide food shortage.
In order to keep the deal alive, it appears that Mr. Guterres was willing to bend to Russia’s demands. “Guterres emphasized his efforts to improve Russia’s ability to export,” the document says, “even if that involves sanctioned Russian entities or individuals.” His actions in February, according to the assessment, were “undermining broader efforts to hold Moscow accountable for its actions in Ukraine.”
Some at the United Nations were offended by the suggestion that the world’s top diplomat was being too kind toward Russia. One high-ranking official, declining to comment on the stolen documents, claimed the United Nations was “driven by the need to mitigate the impact of the war on the world’s poorest.”
“That means doing what we can to drive down the price of food,” he added, “and to ensure that fertiliser is accessible to those countries that need it the most.” Russia has claimed that international sanctions are hurting its ability to sell grain and fertilizer, and has threatened to cease cooperation with the grain deal at least twice.
Russia claims it has had trouble arranging transportation and insurance despite the fact that international sanctions do not apply to Russian grain and fertilizer. The United Nations is plainly not thrilled with the way the United States sees Mr. Guterres’ efforts. And Mr. Guterres is said to have been extremely vocal in his opposition to Russia’s conflict.
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According to another document from the middle of February, Mr. Guterres and his deputy, Amina Mohammed, had an open chat. In it, Mr. Guterres expresses “dismay” over Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, calling for more European production of weapons and ammunition in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
Both parties discuss the recent gathering of African heads of state. President William Ruto of Kenya has been called “ruthless” by Amina Mohammed, who adds that she “doesn’t trust him.” It’s common knowledge that the United States is just one of many countries that conducts regular surveillance of the United Nations, yet, when the results of such spying are exposed, it can be extremely embarrassing—and even dangerous—for the world’s chief diplomat.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post claimed to have found the source of the leak: a gun-loving 20-something who worked at a military base. He allegedly told a group of men and boys who share his “love of guns, military gear, and God” about the sensitive material by posting it on the gaming community Discord.
The report, which was based on conversations with two group chat participants, has not been confirmed by the BBC. The BBC has confirmed that the screenshots of the documents that have been published on multiple Discord chat channels are authentic.
On Wednesday, Discord said that it was helping law police with their leak probe. The US administration is working feverishly to investigate the leaks, according to US national security spokesperson John Kirby’s comments to the BBC.
“This was a series of dangerous leaks. We don’t know who’s responsible, we don’t know why. And we are assessing the national security implications, and right now there is also a criminal investigation,” he said on Wednesday.
“We want to get to the bottom of this, we want to find out who did this and why.” Washington is “reaching out actively” to allies to answer their queries about the leaks so that they understand “how seriously we are taking this,” he added.
Mr. Kirby stated that while the legitimacy of some of the papers had not been proven, they “certainly appear to have come from various sources of intelligence across the government”
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