The United States spied on three latest French presidents among many other high-ranking French government officials, according to a set of documents published by the WikiLeaks on Tuesday.
The whistleblower group published the documents which are claimed to be “a collection of top secret intelligence reports and technical documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA),” in a set dubbed “Espionnage Élysée.”
“The top secret documents derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of French Presidents Francois Hollande (2012 - present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007 - 2012), and Jacques Chirac (1995 - 2007) as well as French cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States,” Wikileaks said in a press release.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has released documents earlier accusing the US spy agency of listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conversations, yet the German prosecutors did not follow a legal suit saying there was not enough evidence for it.
WikiLeaks referred to the documents about spying on German authorities in its press release but added “Publication today provides much greater insight into US spying on its allies, including the actual content of intelligence products deriving from the intercepts, showing how the US spies on the phone calls of French leaders and ministers for political, economic and diplomatic intelligence.”
France is a close ally of the US as both are members of the Group of 7 (G7), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Trade Organization and hold seats on United Nations Security Council.
One of the released intelligence reports suggest that then French president Nicola Sarkozy was intending to resume peace talks between Israel and Palestine without the involvement of the US government.
Another document shows the NSA intercepted communication between Francois Hollande and high-ranking officials in 2012 where the French president has approved holding a secret meeting with German opposition to discuss the Greek debt crisis, without the knowledge of Merkel.
WikiLeaks said “French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future,” signalling more leaks.
“The president has decided to hold a defence council meeting Wednesday morning at 9am to evaluate the nature of the information published by the press on Tuesday evening and to draw useful conclusions,” AFP reported citing an unnamed French official.