What do the US spies have on Tony Blair?

LAST UPDATED AT 12:50 ON Tue 25 Nov 2008

The revelation that US intelligence kept a file of a "personal nature" on Tony Blair while he was Prime Minister has intrigued Britain's spook-watchers. One source told The First Post: "It is quite common for the American and British secret service to compile dossiers on anyone they find interesting, but this is usually gossip picked up at cocktail parties. It's not spying. What make this interesting is that it's the National Security Agency [NSA]. That means the information was electronically gathered, probably by a satellite from his mobile."

This category of surveillance is in direct violation of an agreement between Britain and the US not to spy on each other's leaders. The existence of the secret Blair file was disclosed by a former NSA communications intercept operator, David Mufee Faulk, in an interview with ABC News on Monday.

He also gave details of how he eavesdropped on romantic phone calls made by Ghazi al-Yawer, the interim President of Iraq between 2004 and 2005. He summed these up as "courting, wooing and pillow talk", but would not be drawn on the nature of the information the NSA held on Blair.

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Christian Klar