The phones of German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and those of many of his ministry staff were systematically tapped by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in an eavesdropping operation that began at least 15 years ago, Mediapart can reveal in this report in collaboration with WikiLeaks. Confidential NSA documents obtained by WikiLeaks also disclose how Steinmeier, during his first term as foreign minister in 2005, “appeared relieved” to have been spared details of infamous rendition flights operated by the US over German airspace. Jérôme Hourdeaux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report.
by Jérôme Hourdeaux, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone features on a list of interception targets on a database of the US National Security Agency (NSA), Mediapart can reveal. In an investigation mounted with whistleblower website WikiLeaks, Mediapart details here how more than 50 phone numbers within the German chancellery, including voice and fax landlines into Merkel’s office and those of her senior staff, were for years the target of interceptions by the NSA. The revelations come just one month after German prosecutors dropped an investigation into earlier claims that the NSA tapped Merkel’s mobile due to what they said was a lack of evidence. Jérôme Hourdeaux and Mathieu Magnaudeix, in collaboration with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, report.
by Jérôme Hourdeaux, Mathieu Magnaudeix and with Julian Assange
The United States is conducting widespread economic and industrial espionage against France, including eavesdropping on at least two economy ministers, Mediapart can reveal, as part of its investigation carried out with Libération and WikiLeaks. The ministers concerned were François Baroin, who served under President Nicolas Sarkozy, and his socialist successor Pierre Moscovici, who is now a European Commissioner. But the top secret documents also show that the US National Security Agency has routinely spied not just on politicians and government officials but also French businesses seeking to win contracts abroad. The aim seems to have been to undermine the effectiveness and competitiveness of French companies competing for business on the world market. Fabrice Arfi, Lénaïg Bredoux, Martine Orange, Jérôme Hourdeaux and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange report on the latest disclosures.
by Fabrice Arfi, Lénaïg Bredoux, Martine Orange, Jérôme Hourdeaux and Julian Assange (Wikileaks)
Within hours of the revelations by Mediapart and Libération, in conjunction with WikiLeaks, about US spying on three presidents, the French political world united in its condemnation of the actions. Even the Elysée, which had initially declined to comment when the story first broke, joined in the criticism of American espionage which it described bluntly as “unacceptable”. Meanwhile the American ambassador in Paris was called in by the foreign ministry to make clear France's unhappiness with the acts of espionage on presidents and other senior figures, while François Hollande chaired a defence committee meeting and met a delegation of Parliamentarians at the Elysée. The French president also had a telephone conversation with Barack Obama in which the American president promised the US was no longer spying on French heads of state. Lénaïg Bredoux, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Ellen Salvi report.
by Lénaïg Bredoux, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Ellen Salvi
Dossier: la France et l'Allemagne sur écoute
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.
by Lénaïg Bredoux, Ellen Salvi and Julian Assange (Wikileaks)
President Barack Obama last week announced the introduction of curbs on the use made by US intelligence agencies of communications data they have collected from private individuals, government leaders and organisations around the world. Obama’s move was denounced by civil rights defenders as a weak and minimal response to the unbridled mass espionage practices of the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed to the media by its former contractor Edward Snowden. Among the most startling of these was the recent revelation that the NSA had successfully infiltrated a submarine civil communications cable that runs from France to the Far East, in which it planted a virtually undetectable parallel network to spy on the traffic that passes through it. French telecoms giant Orange, part of the consortium that uses the cable, has told Mediapart it will this month file legal action over the hacking, opening the path for a judicial investigation that could have major political and diplomatic consequences. As Jérôme Hourdeaux reports, the technique used by the NSA to attack the cable is one of the most fearsome mass espionage systems yet uncovered.
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