The mass surveillance by United States spy agencies extended to the United Nations, newly leaked documents show, in what was a potentially illegal eavesdropping exercise.
According to German newspaper Der Spiegel, the NSA managed to break into the internal video confercing system at the United Nations building in New York City last year, breaking the encryption.
A document sighted by Der Spiegel revealed the NSA managed to decrypt 458 communications within three weeks but it isn't known what was intercepted.
Such interception is illegal as the US is bound by law not to spy on United Nations under current hosting agreements.
The NSA also found the Chinese had broken into the UN video conferencing system prior to the Americans, and spied on delegates.
An indication of how costly the spy program is to the US taxpayer came in recently declassified government documents, showing the NSA paid millions of dollars to providers to cover the cost of PRISM interception.
The NSA proposed reimbursement for costs incurred for the court-ordered PRISM interception program to several large providers, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, the documents showed.