News / USA

Obama Calls French President Over Spying Allegations

Obama Calls French President Over Spying Allegationsi
X
October 22, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama called France's President Francois Hollande on Monday to discuss French outrage about claims that a U.S. spy agency eavesdropped on millions of phone calls of French citizens.

Obama Calls French President Over Spying Allegations

TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama called France's President Francois Hollande on Monday to discuss French outrage about claims that a U.S. spy agency eavesdropped on millions of phone calls of French citizens.

Obama told the French president the U.S. is reviewing its intelligence gathering to ensure a balance between security and privacy.

This move for damage control came as the White House complained that some allegations of U.S. activities carried in the French press were "distorted."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called in the U.S. ambassador to ask about 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 gathered tens of millions of French phone records over a one-month period . Fabius called the claims "shocking."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was questioned on the matter when he arrived Monday in Paris for talks on the Middle East. He declined to talk about the specific allegations, but said the United States will discuss the matter privately with French officials and other concerned allies. He said protecting the security of people in today's world is very complicated and challenging.

"Now I am not going to comment on the specifics. As a matter of policy we don't discuss intelligence matters, and lots of countries are engaged in the activity of trying to protect their citizens and the world," Kerry said. "As the president, as President Obama said very clearly in a recent speech that he gave at the United Nations General Assembly just a few weeks ago, he said 'we in the United States are currently reviewing the way that we gather intelligence.' And I think that is appropriate, and our goal is always to try to find the right balance between protecting the security and the privacy of our citizens.''

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 that any country has about U.S. practices.

The spokeswoman said there always is a balance between security and privacy, and said the United States is trying to figure out where that balance lies.

"We're trying to find the right balance here about what we gather and how we gather it. The president has spoken to this at length now," Harf said. "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.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid