News / Europe

Low-key Reaction to French Surveillance Allegations

Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens' privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.
Members of the EU Parliament take part in a voting session on the implications for EU citizens' privacy of the US Prism and other internet surveillance cases, on July 4, 2013 during a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant
— With European anger still simmering over the U.S. Prism program on the eve of trade talks between Washington and the European Union, a report claiming that France is carrying out similar electronic surveillance has drawn a surprisingly low key reaction at home.  

France's Le Monde newspaper claims the French external intelligence agency, or DGSE, runs a vast electronic surveillance operation, gathering material from emails, phone calls, social media and other communications, not only in France but between this country and others.

In a video clip posted by the newspaper, Le Monde reporter Jacques Follorou said that according to one French intelligence chief, the activity was outside any clear authority or control.

The report follows European outrage over leaked documents about U.S. data collection program Prism.  On Thursday, the European Parliament called for scrapping two data agreements with the United States unless Washington disclosed the scope of its electronic spying operations in Europe.

But European lawmakers rejected an amendment that would have delayed the start of European Union-U.S. trade talks which are due to start on Monday.  

France has been among the most vocal critics of the Prism operation. On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said that if true, the operation was unacceptable among allies, and must stop immediately.
 
But the reaction to Le Monde's allegations of France's own surveillance operation has been low key. The French press has reported on it, but government officials have declined to comment on its veracity. The French prime minister's office has not yet responded to VOA's request for comment. France-Info radio reports the prime ministers' office calls Le Monde's report "inexact" - but only to the extent that the surveillance operation falls within the framework of a 1991 law. It does not appear to deny the bulk of Le Monde's allegations about the activities.

French Institute of International Relations analyst Philippe Moreau Defarges says the alleged French surveillance comes as no surprise. He also dismisses European outrage over Prism, describing it as a diversionary tactic.

"'The United States is always a very good scapegoat. France is in a very difficult situation," Defarges said. "The European Union is going through a deep crisis…not to speak about the crisis, not to speak about unemployment (on the part of EU politicians) is good. And this spying scandal is a beautiful opportunity for many European governments, and especially the French government, to speak about something else."
 
On Thursday, France has announced it rejected an asylum request from Edward Snowden, the American fugitive who leaked the documents about U.S. intelligence operations.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ron from: Overton
July 06, 2013 12:22 PM
Seems the French intelligence people mentioned in this article are the only honest people in Europe.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid