Wikileaks Reveals NSA Spying On French Presidents

from the is-that-really-a-big-deal? dept

Wikileaks has released some new documents showing that the NSA spied on the communications of a bunch of French Presidents.

The top secret documents derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of French Presidents Francois Hollande (2012–present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007–2012), and Jacques Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States. The documents also contain the “selectors” from the target list, detailing the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee up to and including the direct cell phone of the President.

Prominent within the top secret cache of documents are intelligence summaries of conversations between French government officials concerning some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community, including the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the leadership and future of the European Union, the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, French involvement in the conflict in Palestine and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.

To be honest, as with the spying on leadership of other allies like Germany, I really don’t think this is that big of a deal in reality. This is what intelligence services are supposed to be doing: spying on foreign governments. The revelations may make for some awkward diplomatic conversations, but you can bet that pretty much everyone knew this was going on already.

But, where this has the potential to get interesting is in the public perception. If the public gets angry about it, it can create international tensions, or lead to various other issues. But, on the whole, compared to spying on private citizens, it’s difficult to get too outraged over spying on other governments — even those deemed “friendly.” You can bet the French are doing everything they can to spy back on the US as well.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,
Companies: wikileaks

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Wikileaks Reveals NSA Spying On French Presidents”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

Re: Half ass thinking seems to be severly contagious

Yeah what most people seem to ignore is that the number of people who hate the US is growing fast. The EU needs a big change and since a lot of the economic problems are because the current politicians want to bend over to the US, this will be another thing in the “racist, neo-nazi, antisemitic right-wing evil pro-russia satanist”s hands to get support.



“This is what intelligence services are supposed to be doing: spying on foreign governments.”

Intelligence services are a function of the government. The POTUS is spying on someone he meets as an equal and ally at the table. Apparently the response of the government to the revelation is that it does not, and will not, spy on the French president



Thanks for all the help during the Revolutionary War, France. We’re still going to push backdoors into your encryption systems though. US officials pinky swear promise not to abuse these backdoors. They will only be used to spy on terrorists, pedophiles, and drug dealers. Not for spying on whistleblowers and the President of France or the Chancellor of Germany. Honest!


Yeah, i’m sure there would be absolutely no outrage if germnany or france would install surveillance equipment on the roof of their embassy to listen to the Phone Calls done on capitol hill. Including the president, the senat and congress. I’m sure that would be totally fine for all of you. Whats all the fuss about?

That One Guysays:


Oh they’d throw a fit if something similar was discovered regarding another nation spying on the US president, but it would be fake outrage, and basically just for show(or if real it would be just another case of USG hypocrisy). Any country with a spy agencies is, you can be sure, doing whatever they can to spy on those in leadership positions of other countries, ‘friendly’ or not, and all the governments involved know it. Any ‘outrage’ when one of them gets caught is basically political theater, they’re just using it to score some PR points.

In politics, you want to know what the other person is thinking, what they’re saying when you’re not around, that sort of thing, so of course the spy agencies, all of them, are going to try and spy on highly placed politicians of other countries. Know what the other person is thinking, and you’ve got a solid advantage when it comes to bargaining with them.


I really don’t think this is that big of a deal in reality. This is what intelligence services are supposed to be doing…

Like hell it is. Unless the Pentagon has probable cause to expect armed conflict with the French, then at best it’s a gross misuse of resources and a PR disaster waiting to happen. At worst it’s the kind of overtly hostile act that kills alliances, especially with people as historically touchy about sovereignity and policy independence as the French are.

The ghost of Eisenhower is facepalming very, very hard right now.


What frenchs were sayong on radio this morning

I’m french, on the radio this morning ( RMC :, they put a pool so people could answer the question ” do you still consider USA as our ally” 69% voted ” NO “.
I’d like to remind you there is a the TFATA negociation in progress between USA and europe. I bet it’s not gonna help at all and probably post pone it for years. Europeans are mostly against it but now we know the other part, the USA wants to f***** us .. and they cant deny it anymore.


Gratuitous use of the word *target*.

The White House did not comment on past activity, but said it was not targeting Hollande’s communications and will not do so in the future.

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are

In other words – yes we have many hours of recordings of your public and private phone conversations but we didn’t target you specifically so it’s ok. See what we did there?


and even after this release, the French are looking at increasing the disgraceful law they enabled just a short time ago, not to stop other countries from spying on the government etc etc, but to be able to spy more easily and completely on ordinary people, the very ones their government is supposed to protect! how is that going to happen by spying on your own people, watching to see if someone else is spying on them as well, is going to stop the others from doing anything? like i’ve said before, these are being used as excuses to up laws against citizens, to keep them under the big thumb, not to stop other spy agencies from knowing about you

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it