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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

Recruitment Genius: Admin Assistant

£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders