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US ambassador summoned to French Foreign Ministry after Wikileaks says NSA spied on presidents

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian leaves the weekly Cabinet yesterday.


Embarrassed by leaked conversations of three successive French presidents and angered by new evidence of uninhibited American spying, France demanded answers yesterday from the Obama administration and called for an intelligence "code of conduct" between allies.

France's foreign minister summoned the US ambassador to respond to the WikiLeaks revelations as French eyes fixed on the top floor of the US Embassy after reports that a nest of US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance equipment was concealed behind elaborately painted windows there, just down the block from the presidential Elysee Palace.

"Commitments were made by our American allies. They must be firmly recalled and strictly respected," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. "Being loyal doesn't mean falling into line."


US President Barack Obama told French President FranÁois Hollande in a phone conversation yesterday that the US wasn't targeting his communications.

The White House said Obama told Hollande that the US was abiding by a commitment Obama made in 2013 not to spy on the French leader after Edward Snowden disclosed the extent of NSA surveillance powers.

The White House said Obama also pledged to continue close cooperation with France on matters of intelligence and security.

If not a surprise, the latest revelations put both countries in something of a quandary.

France's counter-espionage capabilities were called into question at the highest level. The US, meanwhile, was shown not only to be eavesdropping on private conversations of its closest allies, but also to be unable to keep its own secrets.