x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

France summons US envoy over NSA spying report

French government outraged over report that US National Security Agency eavesdropped on millions of phone calls inside France, and demanded that the US halt the spying.

PARIS // The French government expressed outrage at a report that the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on millions of phone calls inside France and demanded that the US halt the spying.

The Foreign Ministry in Paris summoned the US ambassador after Le Monde, using documents disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, reported that the US intercepted and recorded 70.3 million bits of “telecommunications data” between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013.

“This type of practice between partners that intrudes on the private sphere is totally unacceptable,” French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Luxembourg today. “We have to see to it very quickly that this practice ceases.”

Allegations based on data provided by Mr Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia as he faces espionage charges in the US, have stirred tensions between the US and countries including Germany and Brazil.

The US embassy in Paris declined to comment through a spokesman that the ambassador, Charles Rivkin, was called in to the French foreign ministry.

Le Monde said NSA targets included undersea cables and Internet infrastructure operated by Alcatel-Lucent SA and Wanadoo, now owned by Orange SA.

Valerie La Gamba, a Paris-based spokeswoman for Alcatel-Lucent, declined to comment in an email. A spokesman for Orange wasn’t immediately available.

* Bloomberg