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France sends official to US to get explanations on spying scandal

June 24, 2015, 14:51 UTC+3 PARIS
The Elysee Palace will also host an emergency meeting of President Francois Hollande and French lawmakers in connection with a WikiLeaks report that the US NSA had spied on three French presidents
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French President Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande

© TASS/EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

PARIS, June 24. /TASS/. A high-ranking representative of France’s special services is due to arrive in the United States soon to get explanations from Washington amid the latest scandal linked to spying over the French presidents.

French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said on Wednesday a decision has been taken that a coordinator of France’s intelligence will head to the US to clarify the situation.

"This is a coordinator of special services, he is due to head there in the coming days," he said, giving no further details.

This was announced after an emergency meeting of the defence council discussed a WikiLeaks report that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on three French presidents — Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

The spokesman has also confirmed that earlier media reports that US ambassador to France Jane Hartley has been summoned by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to discuss the recent revelations. The meeting is scheduled to be held later on today.

The Elysee Palace will also host an emergency meeting of President Francois Hollande and French lawmakers. Representatives of both houses of parliament, heads of all the parliamentary factions and also heads of foreign affairs committees of the Senate and National Assembly will participate.

Le Foll also confirmed that he is also due to fly to the US on Wednesday. This trip is not however linked to the current scandal as it has been planned before to discuss preparations for the UN climate conference to be held later this year in Paris, he said.

New NSA spying scandal

French daily newspaper Liberation reported on Tuesday that the spying was described in five secret reports by NSA based on intercepting data transmitted via communication networks.

The reports were made for US surveillance community, the newspaper said. Only five documents were later shared with US closest allies — Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — in the framework of the Five Eyes program of sharing intelligence.

The operation was conducted from 2006 until May 2012, according to the report. The last intercepted information was dedicated to secret talks in the Elysee Palace in 2012 about Greece’s possible exit from the euro zone.

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