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WikiLeaks: NSA spied on French ministers and business too

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By Alasdair Sandford
WikiLeaks: NSA spied on French ministers and business too

The latest WikiLeaks report says the US National Security Agency spied more extensively on top French officials in an apparent bid to seek information on economic policy, exports and trade.

Jointly published by the French newspaper Liberation and the online outlet Mediapart, the allegations follow claims that French presidents were bugged.

The transparency lobby group now says two successive French finance ministers were targeted.

François Baroin who held the post in 2010 and 2011 was reportedly tapped to glean information about French policy on banking reform and oil prices ahead of world summits.

His successor Pierre Moscovici was apparently bugged talking to a senator about the poor state of the French economy and ongoing budget negotiations.

The current EU Economics Commissioner appeared aware of the claims last week, saying he was “deeply shocked” by suggestions that two elected members of the same party could not talk freely without being spied on by the Americans.

French reports say the US spy agency targeted hundreds of top French companies to seek information about tenders affecting American firms.

WikiLeaks also claims that documents dating back to 2002 reveal that the US shared information with other Anglophone countries in its “Five Eyes” partnership: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – suggesting that the UK had benefited from US spying on its EU neighbour.

Last week WikiLeaks reported that the NSA had spied on three recent French presidents – Chirac, Sarkozy and Hollande – prompting protests from Paris.