23:52 GMT20 January 2021
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    The US National Security Agency has spied on three French presidents and their administrations over the past 10 years, according to top-secret documents released Tuesday by whisteblower group WikiLeaks.

    The US spy agency targeted the communications of French presidents Francois Hollande (2012–present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007–2012), and Jacques Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States, WikiLeaks said in a release announcing the collection of documents, which it is calling "Espionnage Élysée."

    According to WikiLeaks, the documents include communications showing that French President Francois Hollande approved a secret meeting with German opposition figures – without the knowledge of German Chancellor Angela Merkel – to discuss the euro-zone crisis, and that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to resume peace talks between Israel and Palestine without US involvement.

    Other intercepted communications address some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community over the last ten years, including the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, and the future of the European Union, among others.

    The NSA intercepted one French communication, dated March 24, 2010, which shows that France planned to complain to the United States about the NSA intercepting French communications.

    Per the WikiLeaks synopsis of that document:

    "Intercepted communication between French Ambassador in Washington Pierre Vimont and Sarkozy's diplomatic advisor Jean-David Levitte reveals potential topics of discussion for a meeting between Sarkozy and US President, particularly Sarkozy's frustration regarding Washington step back on a bilateral intelligence cooperation agreement and the US desire to continue spying on France."

    WikiLeaks said in its release: "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 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 founder Julian Assange added: "The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally. We are proud of our work with leading French publishers Liberation and Mediapart to bring this story to light. French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future."

    France, National Security Agency (NSA), US
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