WASHINGTON, D.C.: The White House insisted Tuesday it is not targeting French President Francois Hollande’s communications and will not do so, after documents released by WikiLeaks showed the United States wiretapped three French leaders, including him.
“We are not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price, without addressing what surveillance might have been done in the past.
“We do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike,” he said.
“We work closely with France on all matters of international concern, and the French are indispensable partners.”
The documents released by WikiLeaks — classed as “Top Secret” and first reported in partnership with French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website — also revealed that Hollande approved secret meetings on the consequences of a Greek exit from the eurozone as early as 2012.
The disclosures prompted the French leader to call a defense council meeting first thing Wednesday “to evaluate the nature of the information published by the press on Tuesday evening and to draw useful conclusions,” said one of his aides.
The release also comes just weeks after President Barack Obama signed into law landmark legislation ending the government’s bulk telephone data dragnet, significantly reversing American policy by reining in the most controversial surveillance program since 9/11.