A report has just been published in Le Monde.
'Look, France, we know you're mad about us bugging your lines, but that's not how it went down. Just listen to us. Sorry, bad choice of words.' That's Washington to Paris right now after allegations surfaced this week that US spies had been recording tens of millions of phone calls made by French citizens.
What the papers described, what the French government decried, what the US ambassador was summoned to awkwardly explain — that wasn't an accurate picture
, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said. He declined to say what was instead the case, only that the claim that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million recordings of French citizens' telephone data is "false." (It was actually 80 million! Jokes.) Refusing to reveal what they do collect, however, isn't likely to appease France's furie: President Francois Hollande plans to raise the issue of Washington's surveillance at a European Union summit tomorrow, where he hopes new rules on how much the US can spy on her allies will be set.
French newspaper Le Monde reported that "telephone communications of French citizens are intercepted on a massive scale," based on documents obtained by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
"Le Monde has been able to obtain access to documents which describe the techniques used to violate the secrets or simply the private life of French people," the newspaper wrote.
According to the report, from the period of Dec. 10, 2012 to Jan. 8, 2013, the NSA made 70.3 million phone recordings of French citizens. Le Monde wrote that when a certain phone number is dialed in France, "it activates a signal which automatically triggers the recording of the call," under the program dubbed US-985D.
As for the targeting of individuals, Le Monde wrote that while some were singled out for suspected links to terrorism, others were "targeted simply because they belong to the worlds of business, politics or French state administration."
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was "deeply shocked" by the report.
"It's incredible that an allied country like the United States at this point goes as far as spying on private communications that have no strategic justification, no justification on the basis of national defence," Ayrault was quoted as saying. .....
The BBC's correspondent noted that the French government has itself been accused of similar surveillance on its own citizens. Le Monde reported in July that massive amounts of personal data, including emails, texts and telephone and internet records were stored by the French government for years....
More from GlobalPost: EU set to pass data privacy law amid NSA surveillance scandal
....The European Parliament is set to debate legislation limiting data sharing with the United States.
The new rules could require major internet companies to seek the approval of European authorities before complying with US warrants for private user data.
Transferring European data to outside countries by companies like Google or Yahoo would require following rules set by the EU.
Large fines would be imposed on those companies that do not follow the rules.
The measure is an amendment to a large electronic privacy law....