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WikiLeaks: US wiretapped French presidents

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, June 24, IRNA -- The United States has wiretapped the last three presidents of France, including current leader Francois Hollande as recently as 2012, according to WikiLeaks documents disclosed on Tuesday.

Documents said the United States eavesdropped on presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac as well as Hollande on issues that included the French positions on EuroZone economic policy, United Nations appointments, Middle East peace talks and the financial crisis of 2008, an American daily, the USAToday reported.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price declined to comment on the French reports, but added: 'As a general matter, 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.'

The French newspaper Liberation and the investigative website Mediapart reprinted documents that go back to 2006, when George W. Bush served as US president.

Previous disclosures of the US National Security Agency intelligence-gathering activities have triggered diplomatic rifts with other countries, including Germany and Brazil.

The most recent French document, from May of 2012, disclosed Hollande's concern that Greece might leave the European Union, and leave behind economic damage. 'The French president seems worried that if word were to get out that Paris is seriously considering the possibility of a Greek exit, it would deepen the crisis,' the document said.

The report also said that Hollande expressed disappointment over his talks with German Chancellor Merkel, and sought secret meetings with minority members of her governing coalition.

Hollande has said that he has discussed his concerns about NSA surveillance with (US President Barack) Obama.

A document from June 2011 cited an effort by Hollande's predecessor, Sarkozy, to 'go forward with an initiative to restart direct Mideast peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.'

A report from 2008, during the Bush presidency, said Sarkozy 'considers it his responsibility to Europe and the world to step up to the plate and resolve the world financial crisis.' It added that the 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.'

The oldest document, from 2006, details Chirac's efforts to secure a major UN appointment for an ally.

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