Issued on • Modified
US spying on French president 'unacceptable betweeen allies', France
France said Wednesday that spying was "unacceptable between allies" after WikiLeaks' allegations that the United States National Security Agency spied on the last three French presidents. Current President François Hollande summoned security chiefs to an emergency meeting when the revelations broke.
"It is unacceptable between allies," French government spokesperson Stéphane Le Foll said shortly before the meeting.
Tapping the phone of the president of the republic is "difficult to accept", Le Foll said.
"When we are fighting terrorism, one has trouble imagining or understanding what would motivate an ally to spy on his allies."
But Le Foll said the revelations should not trigger a major crisis.
"There are enough dangerous crises in the world today," he commented.
The United States National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, according to the whisteleblower website.
Wikileaks has published files that include secret NSA intelligence reports and technical documents on the communications of high-level French officials over the past 10 years.
The documents derive from NSA surveillance of the current president Hollande as well as former presidents Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012 and Jacques Chirac between 1995 and 2007.
French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the United States were also targeted.
Among the issues addressed in the intercepted communications were "some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community", WikiLeaks said.
Sarkozy is said to have considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without US involvement and Hollande is reported to have feared a Greek eurozone exit back in 2012.
The US issued a denial after the story broke.
"We are not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande," said National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Ned Price late Tuesday, calling the US partnership with France "indispensable".
In April this year Wikileaks published reports showing that the NSA had wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's private phone, sparking a political scandal in Germany.
Last week WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia and said on its website that it would release half a million more in the coming weeks.