The U.S. National Security Agency spied on the last three French presidents, transparency website WikiLeaks said in a press statement Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents.
There was no immediate confirmation of the accuracy of the revelations, which were reported in collaboration with the French daily newspaper Liberation and the investigative website Mediapart.
According to the documents, the United States wiretapped Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and current leader Francois Hollande during a period running from at least 2006 until May 2012. French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the U.S. were direct targets of surveillance as well, WikiLeaks said.
The documents also contain the cellphone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee presidential palace, including the direct cellphone of the president, WikiLeaks said.
The documents reportedly include summaries of conversations between French government officials on the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, and the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel.
There was no immediate comment on the latest WikiLeaks claims from the White House or the offices of French presidents, but they are likely to ignite a firestorm of controversy in France, as did previous allegations of U.S. spying on world leaders.
Former NSA employee Edward Snowden created an uproar in Germany after he revealed that Washington had carried out large-scale electronic espionage in Germany and claimed the NSA had bugged Merkel's private phone. The assertion prompted an official inquiry into the extent of the German intelligence services' co-operation with the United States.
WikiLeaks said French readers could "expect more timely and important revelations in the near future.
Last week, WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia and said on its website it would release half a million more in the coming weeks.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.