Today, 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks began publishing “Espionnage Élysée“, a collection of TOP SECRET intelligence reports and technical documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA) concerning targeting and signals intelligence intercepts of the communications of high-level officials from successive French governments over the last ten years.
The top secret documents derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of 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. (Related: Snowden Document Reveals NSA Programs Used to Spy on France Embassies in US)
The documents also contain the “selectors” from the target list, detailing the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee up to and including the direct cell phone of the President.
Prominent within the top secret cache of documents are intelligence summaries of conversations between French government officials concerning some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community, including the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the leadership and future of the European Union, the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, French involvement in the conflict in Palestine and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.
A founding member state of the European Union and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, France is formally a close ally of the United States, and plays a key role in a number of US-associated international institutions, including the Group of 7 (G7), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
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 German Chancellor Angela 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.
While the German disclosures focused on the isolated fact that senior officials were targeted by US intelligence, WikiLeaks’ publication today provides much greater insight into US spying on its allies, including the actual content of intelligence products deriving from the intercepts, showing how the US spies on the phone calls of French leaders and ministers for political, economic and diplomatic intelligence.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “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.”
Documents Released 06/23/2015:
French President Francois Hollande has described reports from WikiLeaks that Washington spied on three French presidents as “unacceptable.” The French Foreign Ministry is summoning the US ambassador to shed light on the allegations.
Hollande released the statement following an emergency meeting with key heads of intelligence and ministers at the Elysee Palace in the French capital.
“France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests,” the president’s office said, adding that allegations of spying on French interests had been made in the past.
“Commitments were made by the US authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected,” Reuters reported.
A French government spokesman said Paris will send a senior intelligence official to the US to discuss the spying reports.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has also summoned the US ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, to explain reports from WikiLeaks.
Before the hastily scheduled conference, Stephane Le Foll, a politician with the Socialist Party, lashed out at Washington.
“It is difficult to accept that between allies… there can be this kind of activity, particularly related to wiretapping linked to the president of the Republic,” Le Foll told iTele.
“When we are fighting terrorism, one has trouble imagining or understanding what would motivate an ally to spy on his allies,” he added. “There are enough dangerous crises in the world today.”
US President Barack Obama has assured his French counterpart Francois Hollande that Washington was not tapping his communications, the White House says.
In the phone call, Obama“reiterated that we have abided by the commitment we made to our French counterparts in late 2013 that we are not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president,” the White House said in a statement.
Nothing was said about the period beween 2006 and 2012, wwhich was mentioned by Wikileaks, though.
The statement released by Hollande’s office after the conversation, said in turn that “President Obama reiterated unequivocally his firm commitment … to end the practices that may have happened in the past and that are considered unacceptable among allies.”
Despite the surveillance scandal, the statement then said that French intelligence officials will soon go to Washington to “strengthen cooperation.”
US media cited a statement from the NSA saying it was not targeting and would not target Hollande’s communications. The statement did not deny spying had taken place in the past.
U.S. and European security authorities are investigating whether a previously unknown leaker provided sensitive intelligence documents to WikiLeaks about alleged U.S. spying on French politicians, according to sources familiar with the matter.
U.S. and European security sources said the United States and allied governments were actively considering the possibility that someone other than former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided the latest documents to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
Two people familiar with documentation which Snowden acquired when he worked as an NSA contractor and later supplied to media outlets said that they do not recall seeing these kind of reports among those materials.
But some sources familiar with the investigations said it was still possible that these documents originated with Snowden.
The U.S. and European sources cautioned that they did not know for sure that Assange had developed a source other than Snowden inside U.S. intelligence. Assange has been in contact with associates of Snowden and helped arrange for him to flee from Hong Kong to Russia, where he was later granted asylum.
But until now, Assange, who three years ago took refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, has published few if any documents directly attributed to either Snowden’s leaks or to the NSA.
Associates of Snowden have said that they believe he deliberately avoided giving sensitive U.S. documents to Assange.
Today, 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks continues “Espionnage Élysée”, our ongoing publication of a collection of TOP SECRET documents from United States surveillance operations against France.
Today’s publication comprises seven top secret documents detailing how the US has had a decade- long policy of economic espionage against France, including the interception of all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than $200 million. The documents demonstrate that the US National Security Agency, far from being a rogue organisation, is carrying out an economic espionage policy created by the US Director of National Intelligence. The documents detail the intelligence process, from the tasking of the NSA with collection of desired economic information to the production of developed intelligence reports, which are sent to “Supported Elements” of the US government, including the US Department of Commerce, the US Trade Represenative, the US Treasury and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Central within the cache of documents are two long-term spying orders (“collection requirements”) which define the kinds of intelligence the NSA is tasked with collecting in its surveillance operations against France.
The documents make clear that the NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in international bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities. The documents establish that the US economic intelligence operations against France have run for more than a decade and started as early as 2002.
Some of the documents are authorised for sharing with the “Five Eyes” partners – the group of Anglophone countries in close intelligence co-operation with the United States: Canada, New Zealand, Australia and France’s fellow member state of the European Union, the United Kingdom, strongly suggesting that the United Kingdom has also benefited from the United States’ economic espionage activities against France.
The cache also includes five TOP SECRET intelligence summaries from US spying on the conversations and communications of French officials. The documents show US spying on the French Finance Minister, a French Senator, officials within the Treasury and Economic Policy Directorate, the French ambassador to the United States, and officials with direct responsibility for EU trade policy. The intercepts reveal internal French deliberation and policy on the World Trade Organization, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the G7 and the G20, the 2013 French budget, the decline of the automotive industry in France, and the involvement of French companies in the Oil for Food programme in Iraq during the 1990s.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “The United States has been conducting economic espionage against France for more than a decade. Not only has it spied on the French Finance Minister, it has ordered the interception of every French company contract or negotiation valued at more than $200 million. That covers not only all of France’s major companies, from BNP Paribas, AXA and Credit Agricole to Peugeot and Renault, Total and Orange, but it also affects the major French farming associations. $200 million is roughly 3,000 French jobs. Hundreds of such contracts are signed every year. The United States not only uses the results of this spying itself, but swaps these intercepts with the United Kingdom. Do French citizens deserve to know that their country is being taken to the cleaners by the spies of supposedly allied countries? Mais oui!”
Documents Released 06/29/2015: