US ‘spied on French presidents’

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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WikiLeaks has published documents it says show the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents.

It released material which appeared to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece’s economy, relations with Germany – and, ironically, American espionage.

The release caused an uproar among French politicians, although it did not reveal any huge surprises or secrets.

France is on the verge of approving broad new surveillance powers, and is among several US allies that rely heavily on American spying powers when trying to prevent terrorist and other threats.

There was no instant confirmation of the accuracy of the documents released in collaboration with French daily newspaper Liberation and investigative website Mediapart, but WikiLeaks has a track record of publishing intelligence and diplomatic material.

It appeared serious enough to prompt an emergency meeting of President Francois Hollande’s defence council, according to presidential aides. The council, convening this morning, includes senior French security officials.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he was confident the documents were authentic, noting that WikiLeaks’ previous mass disclosures – including a large cache of Saudi diplomatic memos released last week – have proven to be accurate.

Mr Hollande’s office did not comment beyond announcing today’s security meeting, but his Socialist Party issued an angry statement saying the reports suggest “a truly stupefying state paranoia”.

The party said e ven if the government was aware of such intercepts, that did not mean “that this massive, systematic, uncontrolled eavesdropping is tolerable”.

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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