The U.S. National Security Agency has been conducting high-level digital and phone surveillance against top French government officials, including the nation’s three most recent presidents, the media outletWikiLeaks has revealed by publishing “top secret” intelligence reports that include targeting information and specific intercepts gathered over the last decade.
While indicating the trove of sensitive and potentially embarrassing documents won’t be the last, the new revelations offer more evidence—in addition to similar discoveries about NSA spying on top German officials—that not even the U.S. government’s closest European allies are considered off-limits when it comes to the spying eyes of its intelligence agencies. In coordination with WikiLeaks, the news was first reported in the French outlets Libération and Mediapart.
In its release, WikiLeaks references the NSA’s spying on Germany which caused an uproar in that country, but said the new documents related to the spying on the French provides much greater insight into how the U.S. monitors its allies’ leaders and the kind of information it is able to collect by doing so. The documents, which can viewed here and here, include lists of “targets” and the contents of “intercepts” derived from U.S. spying on the phone calls of French leaders and ministers in order to gain “political, economic and diplomatic” advantage.According to WikiLeaks:
WikiLeaks‘ founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange said, “The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally.” And, he added, “French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future.”
In response to the news of the spying on France, the French Ambassador to the U.S. was summoned home and a statement from the office of President François Hollande expressed grave concerns. “France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests,” the statement said.