Update: Glenn Greenwald’s latest report adds the Italian government and its military to the list of NSA and British intelligence targets. Documents held by Edward Snowden are expected to be detailed by Italian news outlet L’Espresso in the coming weeks, according to the report.
The list of countries who are expressing their outrage at the wide dragnet of NSA surveillance activities continues to grow. Following Brazil, Mexico, and Germany, France took perhaps the strongest measure of summoning the U.S. Ambassador to account for NSA activities inside their country.
The audacity of the NSA knows no bounds, as it’s not only the normally preyed-upon citizens of all nations (now to the tune of 124 billion phone calls in just one month), but also selected leaders and diplomats who have been targeted.
This audacity fittingly has a public representative: James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. Clapper, remember, has flat-out lied to Congress under oath about the scope of the program and how it collects information on innocent Americans. Nevertheless, Clapper is at it again with a new round of denials.
In the statement, Clapper claimed that the Le Monde articles “contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding U.S. foreign intelligence activities.”
“The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million ‘recordings of French citizens’ telephone data’ is false,” Clapper stated. (Source)
Clapper has denied this based on the word “recordings” when in reality it was metadata. However, this completely dodges the bigger question of why any type of data collection is being conducted on innocent citizens of a supposed ally, as well as the bugging of leaders and diplomats.
Full transcript and research links posted below:
by Elizabeth Hagedorn
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says reports that the U.S. collected data on the phone conversations of French citizens are false.
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Citing documents leaked from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, French publication Le Monde reported Monday the NSA had intercepted more than 70 million phone calls in France in a span of 30 days.
According to the report, phone calls were automatically recorded when certain numbers were dialed, and text messages were picked up based on certain keywords. (Via France 24)
Le Monde followed up with a report claiming the U.S. bugged French diplomats and used that information to sway a key U.N. vote involving Iran sanctions in 2010. (Via United Nations)
While French officials appear taken aback by the news, reports of U.S. snooping are hardly new.
The French government has slammed the reports as “shocking and unacceptable.” Its foreign minister says he summoned the U.S. ambassador in Paris to demand an explanation.
And France isn’t alone in its outrage. It joins a growing list of U.S. allies agitated at similar reports of NSA snooping — including Germany, Britain, Brazil, Mexico and the European Union. (Via CNN)
Now, it’s worth noting Clapper didn’t deny spying on the French. Rather, he called the specific report “inaccurate” and “misleading.” (Via The White House)
But not everyone’s buying it. After all, some might say Clapper doesn’t exactly have the best track record of being truthful when it comes to the NSA’s spying efforts.
RON WYDEN: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
CLAPPER: “No, sir … not wittingly.” (Via Fox News)
In a statement, Clapper conceded, “The United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.” (Via Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
And that appears to include France. This summer, Le Monde reported the French spying agency has its own program used to track and store phone and Internet activity of its citizens.
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