France calls US spy­ing ‘un­ac­cept­able’ af­ter Wik­iLeaks claims

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIC RAN­DOLPH

France sum­moned the U. S. am­bas­sador on Wed­nes­day to com­plain about “un­ac­cept­able” spy­ing on Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande and his two pre­de­ces­sors that was ap­par­ently re­vealed in leaked doc­u­ments.

Hol­lande was due to dis­cuss the doc­u­ments re­leased by Wik­iLeaks with U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in the com­ing hours.

France “will not tol­er­ate any acts that threaten its se­cu­rity” the pres­i­dency said, af­ter a meet­ing be­tween Hol­lande and his top in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials and cab­i­net min­is­ters.

U.S. Am­bas­sador Jane Hart­ley has also been sum­moned to meet French For­eign Min­is­ter Lau­rent Fabius, diplo­matic sources told AFP.

The doc­u­ments — la­beled “Top Se­cret” and ap­pear­ing to re­veal spy­ing on Jac­ques Chirac, Ni­co­las Sarkozy and Hol­lande from 2006 to 2012 — were pub- lished by Wik­iLeaks in part­ner­ship with French news­pa­per Lib­er­a­tion and the Me­di­a­part web­site.

The leak co­in­cides with a vote later on Wed­nes­day in the French par­lia­ment on a con­tro­ver­sial new law grant­ing the state sweep­ing pow­ers to spy on its cit­i­zens.

The White House said it was not tar­get­ing Hol­lande’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions and will not do so in the fu­ture, but it did not com­ment on past ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We are not tar­get­ing and will not tar­get the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of Pres­i­dent Hol­lande,” said Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil spokesman Ned Price late Tues­day, call­ing the U.S. part­ner­ship with France “in­dis­pens­able.”

Hol­lande’s of­fice re­called U.S. prom­ises in late 2013 not to spy on French lead­ers fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that the U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency (NSA) had wire­tapped Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

“Com­mit­ments were made by the U.S. author­i­ties,” the El­y­see Palace said in a state­ment. “They must be re­mem­bered and strictly re­spected.”

France’s newly ap­pointed na­tional in­tel­li­gence co­or­di­na­tor Di­dier Le Bret will also travel to Washington to dis­cuss the is­sue, the gov­ern­ment said.

Se­cret Meet­ings on Greece

The leaked doc­u­ments in­clude five from the NSA, the most re­cent dated May 22, 2012, just days af­ter Hol­lande took of­fice.

It claims Hol­lande “ap­proved hold­ing se­cret meet­ings in Paris to dis­cuss the eu­ro­zone cri­sis, par­tic­u­larly the con­se­quences of a Greek exit from the eu­ro­zone.”

It also says Hol­lande be­lieved af­ter talks with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel that she “had given up (on Greece) and was un­will­ing to budge.”

“This made Hol­lande very wor­ried for Greece and the Greek peo­ple, who might re­act by vot­ing for an ex­trem­ist party,” ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment.

The same file also al­leges that the French leader went be­hind Merkel’s back to sched­ule meet­ings in Paris with mem­bers of the So­cial Democrats — Ger­many’s main op­po­si­tion party at the time.

Another doc­u­ment, dated 2008, was ti­tled “Sarkozy sees him­self as only one who can re­solve the world fi­nan­cial cri­sis,” and said the for­mer French pres­i­dent “blamed many of the cur­rent eco­nomic prob­lems on mis­takes made by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, but be­lieves that Washington is now heed­ing some of his ad­vice.”

One leak de­scribes Sarkozy’s frus­tra­tion at U. S. es­pi­onage, say­ing the “main stick­ing point” in achiev­ing greater in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion “is the U.S. de­sire to con­tinue spy­ing on France.”

Chirac’s choice for ap­point­ments at the United Na­tions was the sub­ject of a file dated 2006. In that same doc­u­ment, then for­eign min­is­ter Philippe DousteBlazy was de­scribed as some­one who has the “propen­sity ... for mak­ing ill-timed or in­ac­cu­rate re­marks.”

In Washington, NSC spokesman Price echoed a state­ment is­sued ear­lier Tues­day by the se­cu­rity coun­cil, say­ing: “We do not con­duct any for­eign in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties un­less there is a spe­cific and val­i­dated na­tional se­cu­rity pur­pose. This ap­plies to or­di­nary cit­i­zens and world lead­ers alike.”

France’s am­bas­sador to the U.S., Ger­ard Araud, ap­peared to down­play the rev­e­la­tions, say­ing on Twit­ter: “Ev­ery diplo­mat lives with the cer­tainty that their com­mu­ni­ca­tions are lis­tened to, and not by just one coun­try. Real world.”

Im­por­tant, con­fi­den­tial dis­cus­sions are held by “se­cure meth­ods of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” he con­tin­ued, but “all our other de­vices are, by def­i­ni­tion, lis­tened to.”

Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange said French cit­i­zens had a right to know their gov­ern­ment was “sub­ject to hos­tile surveil- lance from a sup­posed ally,” and promised more “timely and im­por­tant” rev­e­la­tions soon.

Doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den in 2013 had re­vealed mass U.S. sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties, spark­ing global out­rage.

Bri­tish news­pa­per The Guardian re­ported at the time that the NSA had lis­tened in on the phone calls of 35 world lead- ers. Ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous re­ports they in­clude the lead­ers of France, Mexico and Brazil.

While it was not known then if Hol­lande’s phone was bugged, the French leader had said on a visit in Washington in Fe­bru­ary 2014 that the two al­lies had re­solved their dif­fer­ences over Amer­i­can dig­i­tal eavesdropping.

“Mu­tual trust has been re­stored,” Hol­lande said then.

AFP

A com­bi­na­tion made on June 24, shows three pic­tures, left to right, the first from March 27, 2007 in Mar­seille shows then-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ni­co­las Sarkozy, the sec­ond made in New­port on Sept. 4, 2014 shows French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande and the last one from March 24, 2001 in Stock­holm shows then-French Pres­i­dent Jac­ques Chirac.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.