Laser Beam Eavesdropping - The Trinidad and Tobago Case
Trinidad and Tobago - At the height of the Section 34 controversy, a sophisticated laser spying device was discovered in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Roger Gaspard, SC. T&T Guardian (newspaper) investigations revealed the device was detected in November last year inside the conference room of the DPP’s office at the Winsure Building, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain. Gaspard offered no comment on the matter when contacted by the T&T Guardian on Wednesday. Investigations revealed the device was detected after a search was carried out by both foreign and local information technology (IT) experts on the fifth floor of the building.
The T&T Guardian learned that an invisible infrared beam that is used to transmit conversations was found in the conference room, which is where the DPP normally holds briefings on various high-level cases involving past and former government officials and other matters such as the Calder Hart probe and the Clico enquiry. The conference room is also used when the advice of the DPP is sought by police officers on homicides and other criminal offences. On Monday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, during debate of a no-confidence motion laid by him against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Government, revealed 31 e-mails, one of which referred to a plan to spy on the DPP during the Section 34 debacle and to offer him a judgeship so as to be able to replace him in the office...
The bug at the DPP’s office was discovered after Gaspard received a tip-off and arranged for his office to be swept for spying and bugging devices by highly-qualified IT experts. The IT experts detected beams that showed a laser was being used to spy on the DPP’s conversations. One of the IT specialists who was part of the exercise revealed, “They detected certain rays that showed a laser was being used to spy on the DPP. “Someone can stay from the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre and once they have a straight line of sight, and using the laser device, the conversations of the DPP can be heard.” The T&T Guardian understands the find sent shockwaves through the DPP’s office and steps have been taken since then to conduct frequent independent security sweeps of the building to ensure it is clean of such devices.
...there have been calls for an independent investigation. (more)
Even though the details are sketchy, I can think of about four good reasons why this particular "find" might be baloney. Laser listening systems have been built and patented, however, physics still makes this type of eavesdropping very difficult in the field. Read up on laser beam eavesdropping here. ~Kevin