Tuesday, October 22, 2013

French Condemn Surveillance by N.S.A.

France\'s interior minister, Manuel Valls, described new spying allegations leaked by Edward J. Snowden as \"shocking\", in an interview with Europe 1 Radio, on Monday.

The Foreign Ministry summoned the American ambassador, Charles H. Rivkin, who met with ministry officials after an article on Monday in Le Monde, the authoritative French newspaper, said that the N.S.A. had scooped up 70 million digital communications inside France in a single month, from Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013.

French officials called the spying "totally unacceptable" and demanded that it cease.

"These kinds of practices between partners are totally unacceptable, and we must be assured that they are no longer being implemented," Mr. Rivkin was told, according to a ministry spokesman, Alexandre Giorgini.

The same language was used late Monday in a statement from President François Hollande describing what he had said in an earlier telephone conversation with President Obama.

However, in a discreet signal that some of the French talk may have been aimed at the government's domestic audience, France did not call this episode a breach of sovereignty, as Brazil did last month after similar revelations.

During his call to Mr. Hollande, Mr. Obama assured him that the United States was working to balance the privacy concerns that "all people share" with the "legitimate security concerns" of American citizens, according to a statement from the State Department.

The disclosures in France were based on secret documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor whose decision to leak information about the surveillance programs has set off a global debate on the balance between security and privacy in the digital age.

On Sunday, Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, reported that the N.S.A. had intercepted communications inside the cabinet of the former Mexican president Felipe Calderón.

Previous disclosures from the documents leaked by Mr. Snowden had already pulled the veil off N.S.A. spying on other allies, including Germany, Britain and Brazil.

In June, Der Spiegel reported that the agency had eavesdropped on European Union offices in Brussels and Washington.

Probably the most serious diplomatic breach was the revelation in September that the N.S.A. had intercepted the communications of the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil termed the spying "an unacceptable violation of sovereignty."

The French newspaper article on Monday was written by Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist whose articles have conveyed most of the Snowden revelations published so far, and a Le Monde correspondent.

The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, speaking on Europe 1 Radio, called the disclosures "shocking" and said they would "require explanation."

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on Monday for talks on a possible peace process for Syria and discussions on Iran's nuclear program. Asked about the spying at a news conference here, Mr. Kerry emphasized the security challenges in combating terrorism, saying it was an "every day," "24/7" problem.

He added: "We in the U.S. are currently reviewing the way that we gather intelligence. And I think that is appropriate."

The article did not make entirely clear what the N.S.A. had swept up. But it appeared that the agency had taken a vacuum-cleaner approach, recording 70 million communications, the article said, including telephone calls and instant messages. It was not clear how many of those were listened to or read.

The article also noted that the interceptions were obtained using codes with the names "Drtbox" and "Whitebox," with the vast majority having been gotten with the "Whitebox" code. However, it was not clear what those codes meant, or why the time frame was limited to a single month.

Le Monde went on to say the documents indicated that in addition to tracking communications between people suspected of having links to terrorism, the N.S.A. surveillance program might have targeted communications involving prominent figures in business, politics or the French administration.

Last summer, Mr. Hollande criticized the American program, saying France "could not accept this kind of behavior between partners and allies."
News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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