Hollande, Obama Talk About U.S. Spying Claims | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Hollande, Obama Talk About U.S. Spying Claims

Posted: Jun 25, 2015 at 9:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

French President Francois Hollande said he has received fresh assurances from his United States counterpart following claims American security services spied on France’s leaders.

It comes after material released by WikiLeaks claims the US National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapped Mr. Hollande and his two predecessors, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The alleged spying took place from 2006 until May 2012, the month Mr. Hollande took over the presidency from Mr. Sarkozy.

Hollande and Obama

Hollande and Obama

Mr. Hollande, who earlier said the spying was “unacceptable”, has talked to the US President on the telephone about the revelations.

“President Obama reiterated without ambiguity his firm commitment … to stop these practices that took place in the past and which were unacceptable between allies,” the French presidency said in a statement.

Barack Obama made a similar pledge after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance powers in 2013.

The French Foreign Ministry earlier summoned the US ambassador Jane Hartley to discuss the matter.

Earlier on Wednesday, Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said a senior French intelligence official would be dispatched to the United States to confirm the spying is over.

“France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests,” a statement from the president’s office said, adding it was not the first time that allegations of U.S. spying on French interests had surfaced.

“Commitments were made by the U.S. authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected.”

French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the US were also targeted by NSA agents, according to WikiLeaks.

Mr. Sarkozy considered recommencing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without US involvement and Mr. Hollande feared a Greek eurozone exit in 2012, the documents also claim.

US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the US government would not comment on the specifics of the leak.

“As a general matter, we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose,” he said.

“This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”

In 2013, Snowden claimed the NSA had been eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Last year Mr. Hollande discussed his concerns about surveillance with Mr. Obama during a visit to the US, and they patched up their differences.

After the disclosures, Mr. Obama ordered a wholesale review of NSA spying on allies, after officials suggested senior White House officials had not approved many operations.

In the wake of the review, US officials said Mr. Obama had ordered a halt to spying on leaders of allied countries.