12:26 GMT18 May 2021
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    Disturbing as it may seem, the fact that the US National Security Agency had spied on three French presidents, as well as dozens of ministers, senior officials and diplomats doesn't seem to come as much of a surprise to anyone in the know regarding the intricacies of French-US relations.

    US President Barack Obama
    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
    On Tuesday, WikiLeaks began publishing documents purportedly showing that the NSA had methodically intercepted the communications of President Francois Hollande and his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac for at least the past six years.

    With the ruling Socialist Party issuing a statement saying that it was "appalled" by the US policy of systematically spying on an allied government and asking how "a country that places individual liberties above all else" can "trample them under its feet," the right wing's National Front leader Marine Le Pen offered a more aggressive response, stating that Washington was neither a friend or ally of Paris, and adding that the country's 2009 return into NATO structures was "a strategic mistake which must be corrected."

    Le Pen stated in no uncertain terms that the wiretapping of top French officials by US intelligence constitutes a direct threat to France's national security and to its sovereignty.

    "The US is a hegemon, ready to do anything in order to increase its influence over our country…There were times in our history, even recently, when France opposed such attacks on our freedom, independence and honor. This case must prompt us to rediscover our national interest."

    Commenting on the debacle for Sputnik, French writer and geopolitics expert Nicolas Bonnal stated that there is nothing at all surprising about the revelations.

    "What is there to be surprised about here, actually? The US listens to everybody, and especially to the eternally agreeable Merkel and Hollande," Bonnal noted. "European governments do everything that the Americans want, as does our media. Privatization? Yes, of course. The super-secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which threatens to destroy what remains of the European nations? Sure. Open borders and the uncontrolled influx of migrants? Yes please. The war in Iraq? Approved. The wars in Syria, Libya, Ukraine? We are ready. Heavy weapons, walls, lasers and nuclear weapons against Russia? Why not?"

    Commenting on US promises to stop the "practices that existed in the past and [which] are deemed unacceptable by allies," retired Admiral and Editor of the security affairs Magazine Defense National Alain Coldefy told Sputnik that in practice, very little will change.

    "The exposure of US wiretapping against the last three presidents of the Republic have shocked the French public, the same way as happened in Germany, where a similar thing happened to Merkel. She responded very firmly…by continuing the practice of wiretapping in the NSA's favor," Coldefy noted. The expert added that "no one will be fooled by President Obama's soothing declarations and vague promises; everyone knows that the US does not have any friends –only their own interests."


    Hollande, Obama Discuss Alleged NSA Spying on French Presidents
    White House Denies Targeting Hollande's Communications
    WikiLeaks Release: NSA Spied on Three French Presidents
    France Vows to Retaliate Following Revelations That NSA Spied on Hollande
    France, wiretaps, spying, officials, spy scandal, wiretapping, National Security Agency (NSA), Jacques Chirac, Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, US
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