France, Mexico demand answers after US spy claims

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PARIS: France and Mexico have angrily demanded prompt explanations from Washington following fresh, “shocking” spying allegations leaked by former United States (US) security contractor Edward Snowden.

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The reports in French daily Le Monde and German weekly Der Spiegel revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly recorded tens of millions of phone calls in France and hacked into former Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s email account.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls described the revelations in Le Monde newspaper as “shocking,” in an interview on Monday with Europe 1 radio.

The spy agency taped 70.3 million phone calls in France over a 30-day period between December 10 and January 8 this year, Le Monde reported in its online version, citing documents from Snowden.

According to the paper, the NSA automatically picked up communications from certain phone numbers in France and recorded text messages under a program code-named “US-985D.”

Le Monde said the documents gave grounds to believe that the NSA targeted not only people suspected of being involved in terrorism but also high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.

Valls said the revelations would call for “precise explanations by US authorities in the coming hours.”

US authorities declined comment to the French daily on the “classified” documents.

The Le Monde article followed similar revelations by Der Spiegel—also based on documents provided by Snowden—that US agents had hacked into the Mexican presidency’s network, gaining access to Calderon’s account.

AFP

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