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Latest leaked documents show NSA spied on French economy ministers, companies
The US National Security Agency eavesdropped on France’s finance ministers and the country’s largest companies, according to the latest WikiLeaks documents published by French media. The revelation comes less than a week after the group revealed that the NSA spied on the last three French presidents.
They say the interceptions between 2004 and 2012 show the agency wiretapping Pierre Moscovici, former economy minister under French President Francois Hollande and now a European commissioner, and Francois Baroin, minister for budget and then for the economy under former president Nicholas Sarkozy.
It says the spying targeted information about the French budget, trade policy and French companies' role in the oil-for-food programme in Iraq in the 1990s.
Other documents show that in the decade up until 2012, the NSA eavesdropped on all French export bids worth more than 200 million dollars, and other deals in telecommunications, electricity, gas, oil, nuclear and renewable energy, and health projects.
Liberation said the US agency had spied on some 100 French companies, "including almost all of the CAC 40" index of the country's largest-listed firms.
"Never has evidence of such huge economic espionage in France, orchestrated at the highest ranks of the American government, been established so clearly," the French newspaper said.
US officials have acknowledged that they collect economic information as part of standard intelligence gathering. It has been the American government's longstanding position, however, that it does not conduct economic espionage, which it defines as stealing economic information for the benefit of American companies.
The reports say that the NSA shared some of the information with allies in the so-called Five Eyes program Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
France summoned the US ambassador after last week’s revelations, and President Barack Obama promised that the US was abiding by a commitment that he made in 2013, in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the extent of NSA surveillance powers, not to spy on the French president.