NSA Spied on French Leaders: Wikileaks
France has summoned the American Ambassador after whistle-blowing website Wikileaks published reports on Tuesday showing the U.S. National Security Agency allegedly spied on the last three French presidents.
The “top secret” documents show that Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Jacques Chirac were all spied on between 2006 and 2012.
While some news outlets described the released information as “only mild stuff like a conversation between Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel,” a Wikileaks press release said the documents ranged in topics including “the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the leadership and future of the European Union, the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, French involvement in the conflict in Palestine and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.”
White House’s National Security Council spokesman Ned Price responded to the document drop late Tuesday by saying, “We are not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande.
“Indeed, as we have said previously, we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.
“We work closely with France on all matters of international concern, and the French are indispensable partners.”
While the revelation is unlikely to cause a long-term rift in US-French relations, this marks only the latest episode of American eavesdropping on its closest allies.
In 2013, French newspaper Le Monde reported that the NSA had monitored phone calls made in France, citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to WikiLeaks. That surveillance was conducted on French citizens and carried out on a “massive scale,” as reported by Le Monde.
Those particular phone intercepts took place from December 10, 2012, to January 8, 2013, Le Monde said. An NSA graph showed an average of 3 million data intercepts a day.
Also in 2013, CNN reported on allegations of NSA surveillance of other world leaders, including Merkel and the presidents of Brazil and Mexico.