The US’s psychotic obsession with spying on everyone extended to law firms who had the misfortune of representing anyone that the government did not like.
According to the New York Times, a document obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows the firm was monitored while representing Indonesia in trade disputes with the United States.
Indonesia hired the law firm for trade talks, which were under surveillance by the Australian Signals Directorate.
The Australian agency notified the NSA that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including communications between Indonesian officials and the US law firm and offered to share the information.
The Australians warned “information covered by attorney-client privilege may be included” in the intelligence gathering.
While the law firm was not identified, Mayer Brown, a Chicago-based firm with a global practice, was then advising the Indonesian government on trade.
The Times quoted Mayer Brown lawyer Duane Layton, who was involved in the trade talks, as saying that he did not have any evidence that he or his firm had been under scrutiny by Australian or US intelligence agencies.