The US National Security Agency had spied on French presidents Francois Hollande (2012-present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012) and Jacques Chirac (1995-2007), as well as French cabinets, ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States. The U.S. was able to collect intelligence summaries of conversations among French officials on important global issues including Greek debt crisis, the leadership of the European Union, the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, French involvement in the Palestinian conflict and dispute between the French and US government over US spying on France.
WikiLeaks began publishing top secret documents
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 23, 2015
The revelation that U.S. was spying on France for the last ten years came from WikiLeaks as it began publishing the collected classified data from what it now dubbed as the “Espionnage Élysée.” The publication includes actual content of intelligence products deriving from the intercepts, showing how the U.S. spies on phone calls of French leaders and ministers for political, economic and diplomatic intelligence.
“The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally. We are proud of our work with leading French publishers Liberation and Mediapart to bring this story to light. French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Top secret documents
NSA was able to eavesdrop how Hollande has approved holding a secret meeting with French officials and German opposition to discuss the euro-zone crisis. Such meeting was planned without the knowledge of Merkel.
NSA was also able to intercept a conversation between French Ambassador in Washington Pierre Vimont and Sarkozy’s diplomatic advisor Jean-David Levitte. The conversation dwelt on potential topics of discussion for a meeting between Sarkozy and U.S. President. According to the WikiLeaks documents Sarkozy was frustrated as Washington withdraws from a bilateral intelligence cooperation agreement and its continued spying on France.
The documents published by Wikileaks on June 23 also revealed intercepted communications between Chirac and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy. The two officials were thinking of ways to approach UNSYG Ban Ki-Moon to ask for Terje Roed-Larsen to be designated as Deputy UNSYG.
It was also revealed that Sarkozy was persistent to mediate between Israel and Palestine – without U.S. intervention or any kind of involvement. The former French president blamed the U.S. government for causing world economic crisis. Sarkozy was disappointed as U.S. showed lack of engagement to end crisis. France, being the president of the European Union at the time, had to take the lead in resolving the crisis.
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