New Delhi: India today summoned senior US diplomats in Delhi to lodge a strong protest over a report that America's National Security Agency was authorized in 2010 to snoop on the BJP.
Calling it 'unacceptable', New Delhi sought an assurance from the US that it won't happen again.
The BJP, which took power in May, was among six political outfits in the world that the National Security Agency or NSA was allowed to spy upon, according to classified documents reportedly leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Sources said New Delhi told the diplomats that in July and November last year, when reports of such "intrusion of privacy" first came, it had taken this up with the US.
The NSA was spying upon six non-US political parties and another 193 foreign governments. The law was approved by the US Attorney General and a copy of the surveillance report was also sent to US Vice President Joe Biden.
BJP figures in the list of foreign political parties along with Lebanon's Amal, the Bolivarian Continental Coordinator of Venezuela, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian National Salvation Front and the Pakistan Peoples Party for whom the NSA had sought permission to carry out surveillance, says the document published in The Washington Post on Monday.
"These are the entities about which the NSA may conduct surveillance, for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence," the paper said, citing documents provided to it by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
It said each year a new certification must be approved by the court to permit such surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
"Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information 'concerning' all but four countries, according to top-secret documents," The Post reported. The four countries are Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The certification of surveillance also includes other international organizations like World Bank, IMF, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"The NSA is not necessarily targeting all the countries or organizations identified in the certification, the affidavits and an accompanying exhibit; it has only been given authority to do so," The Post said.
Without specifically responding to questions related to surveillance on India and the BJP in particular, NSA spokesperson Vanee' Vines told PTI that the agency collects foreign intelligence based on specific intelligence requirements set by the President, the Director of National Intelligence, and departments and agencies through the National Intelligence Priorities Framework.
Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents to media uncovering the existence of numerous global surveillance programmes, many of them run by the NSA, triggering an outrage worldwide.