WikiLeaks: US spied on three French presidents

Leaked documents purport to show that NSA wiretapped current leader Francois Hollande as well as two former presidents.

    The spying spanned 2006 to 2012, French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website said [EPA]
    The spying spanned 2006 to 2012, French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website said [EPA]

    The United States wiretapped France's former presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as current leader Francois Hollande, according to documents released by WikiLeaks.

    The spying spanned 2006 to 2012, French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website, said on Tuesday, quoting documents classed as "Top Secret" which include five reports from the US National Security Agency based on intercepted communications.

    The most recent document is dated May 22, 2012, just days before Hollande took office, and reveals that the French leader "approved holding secret meetings in Paris to discuss the eurozone crisis, particularly the consequences of a Greek exit from the eurozone".

    Another document dated 2008 was titled "Sarkozy sees himself as only one who can resolve world financial crisis".

    Hollande called a meeting of his defence council to discuss the reports on Wednesday.

    Ever since documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed in 2013 that the NSA had been eavesdropping on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it had been understood that the US had been using the digital spying agency to intercept the conversations of allied politicians.

    Still, the new revelations are bound to cause diplomatic embarrassment for the Americans, even though allies have been spying on allies for thousands of years.

    Hollande said last year that he discussed his concerns about NSA surveillance with President Barack Obama during a visit to the US, and they patched up their differences.

    Spy scheme reviewed

    After the Merkel disclosures, Obama ordered a review of NSA spying on allies, after officials suggested that senior White House officials had not approved many operations that were largely on auto-pilot. After the review, American officials said Obama had ordered a halt to spying on the leaders of allied countries, if not their aides.

    Neither Hollande's office nor Washington would comment on the new leaks. Contacted Tuesday by AFP, Hollande's aide said: "We will see what it is about."

    US State Department spokesman John Kirby meanwhile said: "We do not comment on the veracity or content of leaked documents."

    WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he was confident the documents were authentic, noting that WikiLeaks previous mass disclosures have proven to be accurate.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.