15:27 21 October 2013
An allegation that America's National Security Agency (NSA) monitored over 70 million phone calls in France during just a 30 period has resulted in French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoning the US ambassador for an explanation.
Fabius has spoken out that such measures between allied nations are "totally unacceptable".
The data in question, as reported by Le Monde, was based on leaks from controversial former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.
Snowden's leaks suggest that the NSA monitored big businesses and officials as well as terrorist suspects via millions of phone records between December 10th last year and January 8th 2013.
It is believed that the intercepts were triggered by key words although it isn't clear if the content of these calls and messages have been stored or not.
The operation was revealed to be called US-985D.
Fabius is insisting that the "shocking" claims are discussed immediately and that "if an allied country spies on France, this is totally unacceptable."
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, told reporters at an EU event in Luxembourg: “I have immediately summoned the US ambassador and he will be received this morning at the Quai d'Orsay [French Foreign Ministry].
“Rules are obviously needed when it comes to new communication technologies, and that's something that concerns every country. If a friendly country – an ally – spies on France or other European countries, that is completely unacceptable.”
Edward Snowden, a former CIA analyst and NSA contractor, went public with spying revelations in June which suggested that American and British intelligence has been monitoring on a global scale. Following numerous press leaks (fronted in the UK by the Guardian), the NSA was forced to concede that they had captured phone and email data from millions of Americans.
Snowden is currently in Russia where he was seeking asylum. He has been granted a year-long visa but America is demanding his return to the US to face trial on criminal charges.
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