France summons US ambassador over spying report

Paris, June 24 (IANS) France on Wednesday summoned the US ambassador to explain a WikiLeaks document concerning the US’s spying on three French leaders, including President Francois Hollande, news channel BFMTV reported.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoned US ambassador Jane Hartley and was scheduled to meet her later in the day. He was expected to seek explanation on “Espionage Elysee”, a collection of top-secret intelligence reports and technical documents from the NSA concerning intelligence interceptions of the communications of high-level officials, including Hollande, and ex-presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, between at least 2006 and 2012.

The documents were intelligence summaries of conversations between French government officials on some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community, including a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.

Earlier, President Hollande said he would “not tolerate actions that threaten (France’s) security and the protection of its interests”.

In a statement issued after a defence council meeting, Hollande denounced as “unacceptable” the reported surveillance on France’s leaders and senior government officials by the US National Security Agency (NSA), Xinhua reported.

Hollande also called on the US to respect “a code of conduct” that imposes new rules on spying following reports published in 2013 that the US tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and snooped on millions of French telephone calls.

Promising more of similar revelations about US intelligence gathering operations, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asserted that “the French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally”.

“French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future,” he said.

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