British embassy has 'listening post' in Vienna

The Local Austria
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British embassy has 'listening post' in Vienna
Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 FM4/Nomen Nescio/Google Maps

Britain is operating a secret embassy-based eavesdropping site in Vienna, according to a report on the ORF.


The British embassy in Vienna’s 3rd district has a rooftop shed, which is almost identical to those found on the rooftops of many US embassies. 

The structure is monitored by cameras, and FM4 reporter Erich Möchel says that it contains programmable antennas, transmitters and receivers for all mobile radio frequencies which would enable Britain’s intelligence service GCHQ to listen into Austrian mobile networks.

Austria's Interior Ministry has said it will investigate the report "within the legal possibilities that we have".

Last year Möchel identified a similar listening station belonging to the US intelligence service NSA, located not far from the UN headquarters.

Möchel believes that the US Embassy in Vienna’s 9th district and a villa in Pötzleinsdorf are also listening posts.

One of the less publicized documents which were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is now proving to be key understanding how these listening stations work.

Möchel writes that if the four listening stations are networked with one another then "real-time mobile monitoring" would be no problem.

The British Embassy has so far declined to comment on the allegations.

Vienna has a high number of diplomatic personnel - ranging from employees at OPEC, UN agencies, the IAEA and the OSCE - which are all high-profile eavesdropping targets.

A widening scandal over claims Germany helped the US spy on European targets has triggered tensions in Angela Merkel's coalition.

Last week Austria's government filed a legal complaint against an unnamed party concerning "secret intelligence to the detriment of Austria".



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