President Obama tells Hollande US no longer spying on France
June 24, 2015 6:13 pm
President Obama has assured his French counterpart Francois Hollande that the US is no longer spying on France.
Mr Obama spoke to Mr Hollande following reports on the Wikileaks website that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on successive French presidents.
The White House said after the two leaders’ phone call “we are not targeting and will not target” Mr Hollande’s communications.
French intelligence officials are due to travel to Washington for more talks.
Wikileaks reported that the NSA had intercepted communications from
President Francois Hollande and former leaders Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac between 2006-12.
The allegations prompted a backlash from the French government, with Mr Hollande saying he would “not tolerate” acts that threaten France’s security.
He called two emergency meetings, the first with France’s top security officials and another with leading legislators.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged the US to quickly repair “damage” to its relationship with France.
The US Ambassador Jane Hartley was also summoned to the foreign ministry in Paris to discuss the latest claims, French officials said.
Politicians and other leading figures are taking turns on television to express outrage at US spying.
The US ambassador was summoned to give explanations.
Mr Hollande has telephoned Mr Obama.
An intelligence chief is being despatched to Washington.
If that is the extent of it, though, it hardly amounts to a major rupture. From previous Wikileaks scoops, the French have known for years that they are spied on by the Americans. Only last month it was revealed that the Germans – acting on behalf of the NSA – were snooping after industrial secrets.
The unwritten rule in all of this is that if you are caught, expect a very public denunciation. But behind the scenes life will go on as normal. The fact is that the French and US intelligence services enjoy a degree of cooperation and interdependence that no government in Paris would ever dream of jeopardising.