The Guardian newspaper, citing documents it received from former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, revealed the spying as the G-8 leaders gathered at the Lough Erne resort for a day and half of meetings.
The disclosure follows recent reports in The Washington Post and the Guardian , also based on documents provided by Snowden, that disclosed widespread U.S. surveillance of phone and Internet use by ordinary citizens to detect patterns that could indicate terrorist activity.
The latest revelations by the Guardian focused on two London summits in 2009 hosted by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. British intelligence agents, the newspaper said, went as far as setting up fake Internet cafés and tapping into cellular networks of diplomats and foreign officials.
On Monday, Cameron told Britain’s Sky News that “we never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now.” White House officials also declined to comment.
Obama began the day in Belfast, a city once defined by conflict and now living in uneasy peace.
There he urged Northern Ireland’s youngest generations to reject the temptation of violence as, he said, technology and citizen activism are breaking down barriers in much of the world.
History colored Obama’s remarks, which he delivered along the city’s thriving waterfront 15 years after a peace agreement ended decades of sectarian conflict between Catholic Republicans seeking alliance with their southern neighbor and Protestants loyal to the United Kingdom.
Under a drizzling sky, teenagers in school blazers and ties lined up hours before the event outside Waterfront Hall for a chance to see Obama on his first visit to Northern Ireland. Obama told them to defend their fragile peace and to count on the United States when the Good Friday Agreement, brokered by former U.S. senator George Mitchell (D-Maine), is tested as it has been this year.
“The terms of peace may be negotiated by leaders, but the fate of peace is up to you,” Obama told the audience.
Anthony Faiola in London contributed to this report.