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NSA spied on all French deals valued above $200 mn: French Media
June 30, 2015, 8:39 am

President Barack Obama delivers remarks and a toast during the State Dinner for President François Hollande of France on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014 [Image: White House]

President Barack Obama delivers remarks and a toast during the State Dinner for President François Hollande of France on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014 [Image: White House]

Wikileaks files now published by France’s Liberation newspaper said on Monday that the US National Security Agency had indulged in economic espionage by intercepting communications from two French Economy Ministers.

The new revelations come days after reports that the NSA spied on successive French presidents.

The French daily reported on Monday that the US targeted Pierre Moscovici, former Economy Minister under current French President Francois Hollande and Francois Baroin, French Minister for Economy and Budget under former President Nicholas Sarkozy.

US officials at the NSA were allegedly snooping on both Moscovici and Baroin for industrial secrets.

Moscovici is also a current European commissioner.

The NSA was reportedly spying on hundreds of French companies, revelations that may act as a damper on the negotiations around the Tafta, the transatlantic free-trade agreement between Europe and the US, whose next round is scheduled for mid-July in Brussels.

“Most strategic sectors targeted by the NSA: information technology, electricity, gas, oil, nuclear, transport, biotechnology, etc,” said the Liberation report.

The NSA was targeting “to recover all the information on the scope of contracts involving French companies, including all deals valued at over 200 million”.

The spying was done “to collect all relevant information on French businesses, relations between Paris and international financial institutions, France’s approach to issues in the G8 and G20, or large foreign contracts involving France” said Liberation.

The NSA has previously been accused of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and on Brazilian and Mexican leaders among others.

According to Wikileaks, all information collected by NSA is then shared with key US administrations: Department of Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy Department, intelligence agency of Defence, the US Federal Reserve, the Treasury and even command of US forces in Europe.

“Never has evidence of such a massive economic espionage against France, orchestrated at the highest levels of the US government, been established as clearly,” the French daily pointed out.

China had in 2013 raised concerns about European Union plans to negotiate the free trade deal with the US, fearing it would be a protectionist move.

China worried about whether the plan was “a pulling of the wagons into a circle to … insulate the transatlantic economy from the rest of the world” said EU officials.

The European Union is China’s biggest trading partner.

 

TBP and Agencies

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