Not targeting Hollande's communications in WikiLeaks furore:US

Not targeting Hollande's communications in WikiLeaks furore:US

The US is not targeting French leader Francois Hollande's communications and will not do so in the future, the White House said, after documents published by WikiLeaks showed Washington had wiretapped the president and his two predecessors.

France is to convene a meeting of its defence council Wednesday after the communications -- classed as "Top Secret" and revealing spying from 2006 to 2012 -- were published online by WikiLeaks, in partnership with French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website.


They come just weeks after President Barack Obama signed into law landmark legislation ending the US government's bulk telephone data dragnet, significantly reversing American policy by reining in the most controversial surveillance programme since 9/11.

"We are not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande," said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price in Washington yesterday, calling the US partnership with France "indispensable" but without addressing what might have been done in the past.

The revelations prompted the French leader to call the defence council meeting first thing today "to evaluate the nature of the information published by the press on Tuesday evening and to draw useful conclusions", said one of his aides.

Among the documents, which showed that former presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy were also spied on, are five from the US National Security Agency, including the most recent dated May 22, 2012, just days after Hollande took office.

It claims the French leader "approved holding secret meetings in Paris to discuss the eurozone crisis, particularly the consequences of a Greek exit from the eurozone".
It also says that Hollande believed that after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she "had given up (on Greece) and was unwilling to budge".

"This made Hollande very worried for Greece and the Greek people, who might react by voting for an extremist party," according to the document.

The same file also alleges that the French leader went behind Merkel's back to schedule meetings in Paris with members of the Social Democrats -- Germany's main opposition party then.

Another document, dated 2008, was titled "Sarkozy sees himself as only one who can resolve world financial crisis", and said the former French president "blamed many of the current economic problems on mistakes made by the US government, but believes that Washington is now heeding some of his advice".

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