France summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday following revelations by WikiLeaks that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on the past three French presidents.
In the wake of what French President Francois Hollande described as an “unacceptable” security breach, Jane Hartley was summoned to the French Foreign Ministry, according to French diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named.
The disclosures, which emerged late Tuesday in French daily newspaper Liberation and investigative website Mediapart, mean that France has joined Germany on the list of U.S. allies targeted by the National Security Agency.
The documents appear to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece’s economy and relations with Germany — and about American espionage of its allies. While there were no huge surprises, the release angered and embarrassed French officialdom.
“This involves unacceptable acts that have already given rise to discussions between the United States and France,” Hollande said in a statement after an emergency defense council meeting.
The statement said France has reinforced protective measures after the document release, without elaborating.
The release appeared to be timed to coincide with a vote in the French Parliament on a bill allowing broad new surveillance powers, in particular to counter terrorist threats. The Senate approved it Tuesday and the lower house of parliament is expected to give it final approval Wednesday.
There was no instant confirmation of the accuracy of the documents, which covered intercepts from 2006-12 and WikiLeaks has a track record of publishing intelligence and diplomatic material.
An aide to Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy told The AP that the former president considers these methods unacceptable. There was no immediate comment from former President Jacques Chirac, also targeted.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price released a statement Tuesday evening saying the U.S. is “not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande.”
Price did not address claims that the U.S. had previously eavesdropped on Hollande or his predecessors.
France is among several U.S. allies that rely heavily on American spying powers when trying to prevent terrorist and other threats.