WikiLeaks documents on US snooping on France – what the presidents said

By , and Julian Assange (Wikileaks)

The leaked transcripts and reports on the phone taps carried out by the National Security Agency on three French presidents concern the current head of state, socialist François Hollande, and his right-wing predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. The documents obtained by WikiLeaks and revealed here by Mediapart reveal the different priorities at the time of the three French heads of state, as well as their different styles. Hollande and his then-prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, were discussing the Greek crisis, Sarkozy hoped to save the world from the financial crisis and Jacques Chirac was handing out detailed orders to his foreign minister. Lénaïg Bredoux and Ellen Salvi from Mediapart and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks report on what the presidents said.

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For at least six years the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped the phones of successive French presidents. The confidential transcripts and summaries of the conversations recorded are revealed here by Mediapart working with the group WikiLeaks.

All are marked “Top Secret” (TS) and “SI” for “Special Intelligence”. Of the five documents published here four are marked with a “G”, meaning they are “highly-sensitive material”. Others are marked “NF” meaning that they must absolutely not be divulged to foreign countries. Most of them are marked “unconventional” which refers to the fact that they are intercepted messages. 

  • François Hollande May 22nd, 2012: three days in office, and already being eavesdropped

The first of these top secret notes is dated May 22nd, 2012. The title is: “French President Approves Secret Eurozone Consultations, Meeting with German Opposition,”and it relates a conversation between President François Hollande and his prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault about the Eurozone crisis and Greece on May 18th, 2012. That is just three days after Hollande was sworn in as president of the Republic. At the time the Greek crisis was already the subject of lively discussions inside the European Union. The possibility of a so-called “Grexit” - Greek exit from the Eurozone – was mentioned, several weeks before Parliamentary elections in Greece where parties opposed to the austerity plans were already gaining support.

According to the note, Hollande and Ayrault discuss the organisation in Paris of a “secret” meeting with the leaders of the German social democrat party the SPD. The NSA reports that after his meeting with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on the day of his investiture on May 15th, 2012, Hollande “complained that nothing of substance was achieved; it was purely for show. Hollande had found the chancellor fixated on the Fiscal Pact and above all on Greece, on which he claimed she had given up and was unwilling to budge. This made Hollande very worried for Greece and the Greek people...”

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