Move comes after publication of documents alleging NSA spied on Hollande and predecessors
PARIS—France lashed out on Wednesday at allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on President François Hollande, describing the alleged acts of espionage as “unacceptable” and summoning the U.S. ambassador.
Six documents published by WikiLeaks and two French publications late on Tuesday describe purported U.S. surveillance of internal deliberations and conversations of Mr. Hollande, as well as former French presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.
“These are unacceptable facts that have already led to clarifications between the United States and France,” Mr. Hollande’s office said after a meeting of top ministers and defense advisers. “France will not tolerate any acts that compromise its security and the safeguarding of its interests.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius ordered U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley to meet him later on Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Paris didn’t have an immediate comment.
After the documents were published on Tuesday, the White House said that it wasn’t now spying on Mr. Hollande and that it wouldn’t undertake such surveillance of him in the future. The statement didn’t deny that spying had taken place in the past.
“We do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council. “This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”
Mr. Hollande’s office said on Wednesday that the promises made by U.S. authorities must be “reiterated and strictly respected.”
The latest leak detailing alleged U.S. spying on European allies is likely to worsen simmering trans-Atlantic tensions over surveillance.
Since 2013, leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have detailed widespread surveillance efforts by the NSA, as well as specific allegations of U.S. spying on allies—including the tapping of the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The publication comes just weeks after documents unearthed by a German parliamentary probe alleged that Germany’s intelligence service helped the NSA spy on European governments, including France’s. The allegations caused a political firestorm in Germany, and were embarrassing for the German government, which has loudly protested U.S. surveillance practices.
French legislators are close to approving a new surveillance law that would give intelligence services new powers to collect domestic and foreign intelligence. Opponents in France describe the law as the country’s “Patriot Act,” making reference to the broad powers ascribed to the NSA, though the government describes the law as limited in scope.
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William Horobin and
Updated June 24, 2015 5:22 a.m. ET