WikiLeaks publishes reports showing NSA spied on French presidents

WikiLeaks has published “Espionnage Élysée”, a set of intelligence reports and documents that show that the US NSA has, between 2006 and 2012, intercepted the communications of three French presidents, French cabinet members, and the French Ambassador to the US.

“Prominent within the top secret cache of documents are intelligence summaries of conversations between French government officials concerning some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community, including the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the leadership and future 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 conflict in Palestine and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France,” WIkiLeaks announced.

They also published an NSA database extract that contained cell phone numbers (as “selectors” on the basis of which communication interception was performed) of a number of French government officials, advisors, and the President.

“The revelation of the extent of US spying against French leaders and diplomats echoes a previous disclosure in the German press concerning US spying on the communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials. That disclosure provoked a political scandal in Germany, eventuating in an official inquiry into German intelligence co-operation with the United States, which is still ongoing,” WikiLeaks noted, obviously in the hope that this release will provoke a similar reaction and public debate.

The aforementioned intelligence summaries contained several tags showing the source/provenience of the summary, but one of the tags (“unconventional”) might also indicate how the information was collected.

It’s impossible to tell whether the surveillance went on after the last date in the documents. According to French publication Libération (via Google Translate), current President François Hollande has been assured in early 2014 that US President Barack Obama has made sure that undifferentiated phone tapping of governmental services of allied states is no longer practiced.

According to The Local, it is suspected that the surveillance of all these individuals was performed from a “secret spy nest” on the roof of the US embassy in Paris, which is located near the presidential Elysée palace and several ministries.

They also reported that Hollande has called an urgent defence council meeting to discuss the claims, and that France will send a top intelligence official to the US to discuss the leaked reports.

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