• France's news in English

Spying on French presidents: What the Wikileaks docs reveal

AFP/The Local · 24 Jun 2015, 08:19

Published: 24 Jun 2015 08:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Documents published online by WikiLeaks show that the US wiretapped three French presidents, including current leader Francois Hollande.

Here are some key points revealed by the documents, which can be found at https://wikileaks.org/nsa-france/.

Francois Hollande

A note dated May 22, 2012 and classified as "Top Secret" shows that French president Francois Hollande had "approved holding secret meetings in Paris to discuss the eurozone crisis, particularly the consequences of a Greek exit from the eurozone".

Hollande also arranged in a meeting with then-French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on May 18, just days after he had taken office, to hold secret meetings with Germany's opposition Social Democratic Party. Ayrault warned the president to keep the meetings secret to avoid "diplomatic problems", with the cable explaining he meant "what could happen if German Chancellor Angela Merkel finds out that Hollande is going behind her back to meet with the German opposition".

The note said that after earlier talks with Merkel in Berlin, Hollande had complained that nothing of substance was achieved and that the Chancellor was fixated on Greece, "on which he claimed she had given up and was unwilling to budge".

This, the note said, made Hollande "very worried" for Greece and the Greek people, who he said may react by voting for an extremist party.

Nicolas Sarkozy

A note titled "Sarkozy Sees Himself as Only One Who Can Resolve World Financial Crisis" and dated 2008 records how then-president Nicolas Sarkozy "considers it his responsibility to Europe and the world to step up to the plate and resolve the world financial crisis".

Sarkozy further declared his belief he was "the only one" who could step into the breach, given France's EU presidency at the time, and the lack of US engagement in the crisis.

The note said that Sarkozy blamed US "mistakes" for many of the economic problems, but added he "believes that Washington is now heeding some of his advice".

A note dated March 24, 2010 reveals that Sarkozy planned to express his frustration to US President Barack Obama over delays in a proposed bilateral intelligence cooperation agreement, with the main sticking point being "the US desire to continue spying on France".

The note, recounting an exchange between France's ambassador to the US Pierre Vimont and Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser Jean-David Levitte, said Sarkozy planned to raise that along with a number of other sensitive topics at a meeting with Obama on March 31.

A third note, dated June 10, 2011, describes Sarkozy's determination on June 7 to go ahead with a bid to restart direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, "in spite of an apparent lack of interest on the part of some major players".

The note said Sarkozy was wary about including the Middle East Quartet -- the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia -- in the process as they "might not bow to Paris's wishes".

Sarkozy was considering appealing to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev for a possible joint initiative without the US, the note said, as well as issuing an ultimatum to Obama regarding Palestinian statehood.

Jacques Chirac

Story continues below…

A note dated from 2006 describes a conversation between the then-president and his foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on the appointment of a UN envoy.

The note comments that "Chirac's detailed orders may be in response to the foreign minister's propensity, amply demonstrated in the past and the impetus behind a number of presidential reprimands, for making ill-timed or inaccurate remarks".





AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available