NSA leaks: France summons US ambassador over phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden
Latest leaks from Edward Snowden say American agents recorded more than 70 million French phone calls in just 30 days – including those of politicians and businessmen
The French government has summoned the US ambassador in Paris to provide an explanation for fresh Edward Snowden revelations about the NSA.
According to reports this morning in Le Monde, the American National Security Agency recorded more than 70 million phone calls made France over the course of just 30 days.
If accurate, the reports are the latest indicator of the extraordinary reaching of US electronic spying, and come alongside the news that agents also hacked the email account of former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, told reporters at an EU meet in Luxembourg: “I have immediately summoned the US ambassador and he will be received this morning at the Quai d'Orsay [French Foreign Ministry].”
“Rules are obviously needed when it comes to new communication technologies, and that's something that concerns every country,” he the Europe-1 radio station. “If a friendly country – an ally – spies on France or other European countries, that is completely unacceptable.”
Le Monde’s story, which included the byline of the outgoing Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, said that the communications of prominent businessmen and politicians were spied on alongside those of suspected security threats.
It said the NSA had targeted Orange and Alcatel-Lucent – two of the biggest network operators in France – and that it used keyword technology and lists of certain types of numbers to automatically pick up millions of records a day.
The 70.3 million pieces of data came from 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013, and it was not made clear whether they included the full content of conversations or just the metadata – the information of who, when and where the call was made.
The programme of surveillance, codenamed US-985D, also reportedly stored millions of intercepted text messages.
The article followed reports in the German weekly Der Spiegel that the NSA accessed the email account of Felipe Calderon, the former Mexican president. Mexico said it would be seeking an explanation from US officials “as soon as possible”.
Mr Snowden, a former contractor with the NSA who first went public about US surveillance techniques in June, warned then that he had gigabytes of data full of other revelations, to be released over time.
He is currently a refugee at an unknown location in Russia, after he was granted one year’s asylum on the condition, president Vladimir Putin said, that he stop leaking US secrets.
It is not known whether today’s revelations come straight from Mr Snowden himself, or if they are part of a large stock of data given in bulk to journalists at an earlier date.
The US has, as with other Snowden stories, refused to comment on what it calls confidential information.
Officials nonetheless referred Le Monde to a statement made in June, in which US director of national intelligence James Clapper defended the NSA’s programmes.
“They are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorised by Congress,” he said. “Their purpose is to obtain foreign intelligence information, including information necessary to thwart terrorist and cyber-attacks against the United States and its allies.”
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Hacking Trial: Rebekah Brooks, Raisa and a new twist in the saga of a horse fit for a Prime Minister
Israel-Gaza conflict: Palestinian death toll now exceeds 500 – but Israel fights on
Income tax league: Revealed - the UK towns where people pay the most and least tax
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire