The documents show that the American National Security Agency operates a robust presence in the Austrian capital, and with good reason. Despite Vienna having a population of only 1.75 million people, the city is home to more than 17,000 accredited diplomats, many of whom work in the various international organizations, including the United Nations, IAEA, UNIDO, CTBTO, OSCE and OPEC.
Photo: IZD Tower
According to the report, German media disclosed that the NSA had previously used the BND to spy on high-ranking officials in the European Commission and in France's foreign ministry and presidential palace.
The latest disclosures, based on the search terms, suggest that Austrian communications were intercepted by the BND's monitoring station in the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling on at least ten occasions, according to a leaked internal BND email dated August 14, 2013.
Bild also reported that the NSA attempted to spy on phone numbers and e-mail addresses at the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) — also known as Airbus — and Eurocopter, now called Airbus Helicopters.
Citing an unnamed source from the German parliamentary committee on the US spying agency, Bild said Berlin chose to remain silent and close its eyes to the information in order to avoid “endangering cooperation” with Washington and the NSA.
In a presentation on NSA spying in Austria reported in The Local in 2014, Austrian journalist Erich Möchel made extensive use of the documents revealed by Edward Snowden, the former systems administrator and defense contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton who allegedly leaked NSA and CIA secret archives.