A new allegation, reportedly based on leaks from Edward Snowden, claims that the NSA spied on millions of phone calls and text messages inside France. The French foreign minister calls the charge "unacceptable" and has summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Paris, Charles Rivkin, to explain his country's actions.
According to the story published in Le Monde on Monday, in just one 30-day period last year, the NSA collected information on more than 70 million telephone calls made in France. It's not clear whether they collected only the metadata, or recording of the actual conversations. The targets of the surveillance were supposed to be terrorism suspects, but like the NSA's monitoring of phone calls in the U.S. and elsewhere, the massive sweeps appear almost indiscriminate in nature and surely captured communications between innocent people.
However, the outrage appears mainly to be a face-saving measure since French officials had to know the Americans were doing some kind of spying on them — plus, they are guilty of similar snooping as well. According to the BBC, France has been doing the exact same thing to its own citizens for some time and it was also reported back in July (by Le Monde, naturally) that the French government keeps massive amounts of data from phone calls, emails, and text messages, made by their own people and that they have held onto that data for years.
The story comes right on the heels of another report that the NSA has spied on the emails of the President of Mexico, so basically no matter who you are or where you live, you can pretty much assume that the NSA has probably spied on you at some point.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.