Ahead of Putin-Obama meeting, Guardian report claims U.S. spied on Russia at previous summit

(CBS News) President Obamalanded in Northern Ireland Monday morning to attend the G8 summit just hours after claims surfaced about alleged surveillance programs launched by U.S. and British officials at the 2009 G20 Summit in London.

Mr. Obama's three-day European trip was likely to be dominated by discussions on Syria and global economic issues, and CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett said the release of information regarding NSA targeting of then-Russian President Medvedev at the 2009 summit could complicate the president's discussions.

Mr. Obama was set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday evening, and The Guardian's story, based on leaked documents from former NSA employee Edward Snowden, were likely to increase tension in the already-potentially awkward meeting.

Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked dozens of documents about U.S. surveillance programs, released a new batch of internal government documents to The Guardian, showing that in 2009, when President Obama attended his first G20 summit in London, the U.S. used surveillance techniques to intercept messages between then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Russian diplomats. 

The White House has not commented on The Guardian's report, but Garrett said Monday morning that, "the unofficial word is, 'Yes, both countries spy on each other.'"

It wasn't certain whether the spying revelation would be a topic of conversation for Mr. Obama and Putin, however there were plenty of other complications the two world leaders would need to address at Monday's meeting -- the first between the two men since a tense meeting at the G20 summit in June, 2012.

Syria will be the primary issue on the agenda -- Russia strongly disagrees with U.S. policy toward Syria and has labeled the Obama administration's claims of evidence that Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons against rebel fighters dubious.

Russia has vetoed every United Nations Security Council measure to bring tougher sanctions against the Assad regime and insists on a political solution to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Russia remains the biggest military arms supplier to the Assad regime.

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