France summoned the US ambassador to the Foreign Ministry today following revelations by WikiLeaks that the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on the past three French presidents. The NSA eavesdropped on the last three French presidents – Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac between 2006-12.
French President Francois Hollande has described the security breach "unacceptable” and US envoy Jane Hartley was summoned to the French Foreign Ministry, French diplomats said.
There was no instant confirmation of the accuracy of the documents, which covered intercepts from 2006-12 and WikiLeaks has a track record of publishing intelligence and diplomatic material.
The disclosures, which emerged yesterday in French daily newspaper Liberation and investigative website Mediapart, mean that France has joined Germany on the list of US allies targeted by the National Security Agency.
The documents appear to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece's economy and relations with Germany and about American espionage of its allies. The release has angered and embarrassed French officialdom.
France has reinforced protective measures after the document release, without elaborating.
The WikiLeaks release appeared to be timed to coincide with a vote in the French Parliament on a bill allowing broad new surveillance powers, in particular to counter terrorist threats.
France is among several US allies that rely heavily on American spying powers when trying to prevent terrorist and other threats.
Image: French President Francois Hollande welcomes Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrives at the ElyseePalace before the solidarity march in the streets of Paris in February. Wikileaks has revealed that the NSA tapped their phones. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters