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France, Mexico Demand Explanation Over Latest NSA Allegations

  • VOA News

U.S Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin (center) leaves the Foreign Ministry in Paris, after being summoned on Oct. 21, 2013, to explain why America spied on one of its closest allies.

U.S Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin (center) leaves the Foreign Ministry in Paris, after being summoned on Oct. 21, 2013, to explain why America spied on one of its closest allies.

France and Mexico are angrily demanding explanations from the United States following new spying allegations leaked by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that he had called in the U.S. ambassador to explain an article in Le Monde newspaper about large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency.

The article alleged that the NSA had gathered tens of millions French phone records over a one-month period. Fabius called the claims "shocking."

Meanwhile, Mexico reacted angrily Monday to an article published in the German weekly Der Spiegel, in which Snowden accused the NSA of accessing the e-mail of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Mexico's foreign ministry called the practice "unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law."

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf would not confirm or deny the recent reports of U.S. spying. She told reporters Monday that all countries understand the value of gathering intelligence and said the United States is willing to discuss concerns any country has about U.S. practices.

"We’re trying to find the right balance here about what we gather and how we gather it," Harf said. "The president has spoken to this at length now and it’s worth keeping in mind as we have a discussion, keep in mind the entire intelligence picture."

Snowden, who has taken refuge in Russia, is wanted in the U.S. for espionage and other charges, after leaking details of the NSA's worldwide spying activities.

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