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NSA Eavesdropped on Last 3 French Presidents: Wikileaks

by Associated Press /  / Updated 

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PARIS — WikiLeaks published documents late Tuesday it says shows the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents.

There was no instant confirmation of the accuracy of the documents released in collaboration with French daily newspaper Liberation and investigative website Mediapart.

Related: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Agrees to London Questioning: Lawyer

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press he was confident the documents were authentic, noting that WikiLeaks' previous mass disclosures have proven to be accurate.

There was no immediate comment from the White House or the offices of French President Francois Hollande or previous president Jacques Chirac, reportedly targeted by the eavesdropping.

An aide to Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy told the AP that the former president considers these methods unacceptable, generally speaking and especially from an ally. The aide was not authorized to be publicly named.

Ever since documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed in 2013 that the NSA had been eavesdropping on the cellphone of Angela Merkel, it had been understood that the U.S. had been using the digital spying agency to intercept the conversations of allied politicians.

Still, the new revelations are bound to cause diplomatic embarrassment for the Americans, even though friends have been spying on friends for thousands of years.

Related: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Faces DNA Test in Swedish Rape Case

Hollande said last year that he discussed his concerns about NSA surveillance with President Barack Obama during a visit to the U.S., and they patched up their differences.

After the Merkel disclosures, Obama ordered a wholesale review of NSA spying on allies, after officials suggested that senor White House officials had not approved many operations that were largely on auto-pilot. After the review, American officials said Obama had ordered a halt to spying on the leaders of allied countries, if not their aides.

Wikileaks on its website listed the contents of what it said was five selected "top" intercepts of communications involving French presidents — on subjects including a top U.N. appointment, the Middle East peace process, and the handling of the euro crisis — between 2006 and 2012.

The report also listed in a chart what were said to be phone numbers listed by NSA as top French official "intercept targets," including that of the French president's own cellphone, with some digits crossed out.

Hrafnsson refused to comment on how WikiLeaks had obtained the documents and declined to go into specifics about what else might be appearing the French press, but said that "they can expect more revelations in the near future."

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