Russia hid spy gadgets in G20 summit goodie bags

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Vladimir Putin sporting his KGB spy uniform back in the day.

Last week, Germany’s leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, found out her cell phone was being monitored by the US spy organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). It wasn’t just Merkel in Germany, either… as the US spied on at least 35 other countries and their leaders, including allies like France and Spain.

Well, at least the US was a little more subtle than Russia. It was recently reported that during the G20 summit this past September in St. Petersburg, the Russian hosts gave visiting world leaders “goodie bags,” which had cool high-tech gadgets like USB drives and telephone chargers. The problem is that these goodies were more trick than treat, because they were designed to download users’ private information and pass it along to Russian secret agents!

Leave it to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who used to be one of Russia’s top “KGB” spies himself, to still be up to his old tricks. Once a spy, always a spy, I guess.

How did Putin’s little devious plan get discovered? European Union President, Herman Van Rompuy, had a bad feeling about the devices, and so he asked intelligence pros to check them out. Germany security experts said the phone chargers were able to tap into e-mails, text messages, and telephone calls!

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, quickly denied that the goodies had spy hardware inside. “It is definitely nothing other than an attempt to switch attention from the problems that really exist,” he said.

Featured image courtesy of G20 Russia Facebook. Image of KGB Putin courtesy of Vladimir Putin on Wikipedia.