Ayatollah Khamenei

The New York Times reports that in 2009, U.S. National Security Agency analysts learned of Ayatollah Khamenei’s trip to Kurdistan Province and organized an espionage operation called Operation Dreadnought focusing on the Iranian leader.

The report indicates that close cooperation was established between the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which handles satellite photography, and the GCHQ, Britain’s NSA counterpart, to study the Iranian Supreme Leader’s entourage on the trip to Kurdistan, their vehicles and their weaponry.

The technology was used to intercept air traffic messages as planes and helicopters landed and took off, to study air defence radar stations and gather data for blanket eavesdropping on Iran.

Iran has not yet reacted to the news of this surveillance; the U.S. is already trying to placate many infuriated European leaders who find U.S. eavesdropping on allies unacceptable.