The former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Richard Butler, says his
phone calls at the United Nations were bugged during his tenure from 1997
Butler says his negotiations on Iraq were secretly monitored
He told Australian radio at least four UN Security Council members
monitored his calls, and he would leave the UN building if taking a
ABC Radio cited Australian intelligence sources as saying Hans Blix,
the last weapons inspector, was also bugged.
Ex-UK minister Clare Short says the UK bugged UN Secretary-General Kofi
"Of course I was (bugged)," Richard Butler told ABC radio.
"I was well aware of it. How did I know? Because those who did it
would come to me and show me the recordings that they had made on others
to help me do my job disarming Iraq."
Mr Butler said he was bugged by the Americans, British, French and
"I knew it from other sources," he said. "I was utterly
confident that I was bugged by at least four permanent members of the
He said that if he needed to make a private call to his contacts, he
would leave the UN building in New York and either go to a busy cafe or
walk in Central Park.
Meanwhile ABC reporter Andrew Fowler said he had been told by
Australian intelligence contacts that Hans Blix - the UN's most recent
weapons inspector in Iraq - was also tapped.
"That's what I'm told, specifically each time he entered Iraq, his
phone was targeted and recorded and the transcripts were then made
available to the United States, Australia, Canada, the UK and also New
Zealand," he said.
The United Nations has already said that any bugging of UN offices
would be illegal and should end immediately.
The organisation was responding to claims on Thursday by the former UK
cabinet minister Clare Short that British intelligence monitored calls by
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
On Friday, Ms Short hit back after UK Prime Minister Tony Blair branded
the claims "deeply irresponsible".
She denied putting the UK or its security services at risk by her
revelations, and accused the prime minister of using "pompous"
At his monthly news conference, Mr Blair insisted the UK security
services acted in accordance with domestic and international law and in
their country's best interests.