The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on French Presidents Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, WikiLeaks said in a press statement disclosing top secret intelligence reports.
NSA spied on the presidents from at least 2006 until May 2012. The documents were accessed by NSA surveillance of the communications of Hollande (2012â€“present), Sarkozy (2007â€“2012) and Chirac (1995â€“2007), the French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the US.
The French president’s office, the French foreign ministry and the US State Department declined to comment on the WikiLeaks statement, but former Defense and Foreign Affairs Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France had long known that the US had the technical means to intercept conversations worldwide.
“The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, promising that other documents would be published in coming months.
The documents revealed in the â€œEspionnage Ã‰lysÃ©eâ€ post on WikiLeaks include cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee presidential palace, the direct cell phone of the president, summaries of conversations between French government officials on the global financial crisis and the future of the European Union, the relationship between Hollande’s administration and Merkel’s government, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.
The French president immediately convened a defense committee meeting to discuss the WikiLeaks statement.
According to Reuters, these latest revelations regarding spying among allied Western countries come after it emerged that the NSA had spied on Germany and Germany’s own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe. Last week, WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia and said on its website it would release half a million more in coming weeks.