France Calls Alleged US Eavesdropping ‘Unacceptable’
French President Francois Hollande’s office says allegations the U.S. eavesdropped on his phone calls and those of his two predecessors are “unacceptable” and adds that France will not tolerate anything that threatens its security.
Hollande released the statement Wednesday after meeting with his defense council to discuss the release by WikiLeaks of documents saying that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on the last three French presidents.
Officials say the U.S. ambassador to France has been summoned to the office of France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to discuss the issue.
The WikiLeaks documents were published by French daily newspaperLiberation and investigative website Mediapart. There was no immediate confirmation of the accuracy of the documents.
The White House did not address whether the U.S. had monitored Hollande or his predecessors in the past, but stressed that it is not targeting Hollande’s communications and will not do so.
NSA spokesman Ned Price said the Obama administration does not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance unless there is a “specific and validated national security purpose,” a standard he said applied to both world leaders and “ordinary citizens.”
“We work closely with France on all matters of international concern and the French are indispensable partners,” Price said.
In 2013, WikiLeaks reported that the NSA had wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private phone. The report sparked a political scandal in Germany and prompted an official inquiry.
The U.S. reply to Germany on the matter, in September 2013, was similar to the one it provided France on Tuesday: that the U.S. was not monitoring Merkel’s calls at that time and would not monitor them in the future.
Tuesday’s revelations come just weeks after President Obama signed a law ending the U.S. government’s power to investigate the private phone and Internet communications of U.S. citizens.