British agents spied on United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in the run-up to the Iraqi war, former British International Development Secretary Clare Short has claimed.
Ms Short made the claim while being interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the implications of the collapse of the UK Official Secrets Act case against GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun.
Asked whether British agencies had been involved in spying activities against Mr Annan, Ms Short - who quit the British Cabinet in protest against the war - said: "I know, I have seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.
"Indeed, I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to war thinking 'Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying'."
Ms Short was asked whether she believed that British spies had been instructed to carry out operations within the United Nations on people such as Kofi Annan.
She replied: "Yes, absolutely."
Ms Short was asked whether she knew about such operations when she was in the British government.
She said: "Absolutely, I read some of the transcripts of the accounts of his conversations."
Asked whether she believed that was legal, she said: "I don't know, I presume so.
"It is odd, but I don't know about the legalities."