World

New bugging device found in UN offices

The United Nations has found a 'sophisticated' listening device planted in its European headquarters in Geneva, it said Friday.

The United Nations has found another listening device planted in its offices, this one in the world body's European headquarters in Geneva.

The "sophisticated" bugging device, which experts believe was made in Russia or Eastern Europe about three or four years ago, was planted in a room next to a conference hall used by political leaders and other visiting dignitaries.

In September 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and other foreign ministers used the hall to talk about how to deal with Iraq in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of the country.

Workers found the bug while renovating the Salon Français in September, but the United Nations did not talk about the discovery until Friday.

A spokesperson said an investigation has failed to discover who planted it or when it was placed.

This is the third time this year that allegations have surfaced that UN officials were spied on by means of listening devices.

Richard Butler, the UN's chief weapons inspector from 1997 to 1999, said in February that he was regularly bugged.

The Americans, British, French and Russians all knew the content of supposedly private conversations involving his office, Butler said.

His comments came on the heels of revelations by a former British cabinet minister that United Kingdom intelligence agents had bugged UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's office in the months before Britain joined the U.S.-led coalition to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from office.