According to website The Intercept, which published the document Sunday, the spyware was used to intercept the electronic communications of the high-profile candidates from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and South Korea, among other states.
The surveillance operation was intended to assist New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser in becoming the new WTO head, according to The Intercept. The Brazilian candidate Roberto Azevedo got the job in 2013.
In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked information about global electronic surveillance programs conducted by the US government, including eavesdropping on US citizens and foreign leaders. Snowden is accused in the US of theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified documents to an unauthorized person. Each of the three charges carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.
On August 1, 2013, Russian authorities granted Snowden temporary asylum in Russia for one year. In August 2014, the whistleblower received a three-year residence permit in Russia.