The Guardian reports: The French government has summoned the US ambassador in Paris, demanding an explanation about claims that the National Security Agency has been engaged in widespread phone surveillance of French citizens.
On Monday, Le Monde published details from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden suggesting that the US agency had been intercepting phone calls on what it terms “a massive scale”.
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, warned: “This sort of practice between partners that invades privacy is totally unacceptable and we have to make sure, very quickly, that this no longer happens.”
His summoning of the ambassador for urgent talks came as the US secretary of state, John Kerry, arrived in the French capital for the start of a European tour focused on discussions over the Middle East and Syria, and keen to stress close military and intelligence ties with Paris, which he recently called America’s “oldest ally”.
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, described the revelations as shocking and said he would be pressing for detailed explanations from Washington.
“Rules are obviously needed when it comes to new communication technologies, and that’s something that concerns every country,” he told Europe-1 radio. “If a friendly country – an ally – spies on France or other European countries, that is completely unacceptable.”
The report in Le Monde, which carries the byline of the outgoing Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who worked with Snowden to lay bare the extent of the NSA’s actions, claims that between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013 the NSA recorded 70.3m phone calls in France. [Continue reading…]