WikiLeaks published documents late Tuesday that it says shows the United States National Security Agency eavesdropped on the last three French presidents.
There was no immediate confirmation of the accuracy of the documents released in collaboration with Libération, a left-leaning French newspaper, and the investigative website Mediapart.
A WikiLeaks spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, told The Associated Press he was confident the documents were authentic, saying that WikiLeaks’ previous mass disclosures have proved to be accurate.
Claudine Ripert-Landler, a senior spokeswoman for President François Hollande of France, said on Tuesday night that Mr. Hollande would convene “the Defense Council to evaluate the nature of the information reported in the media and draw the necessary conclusions.” The council, which is similar to the United States National Security Council, was expected to meet Wednesday morning. There was no immediate comment from the White House or from former President Jacques Chirac.
An aide to Mr. Hollande’s predecessor,Nicolas Sarkozy, said the former president considered these methods unacceptable, generally speaking and especially from an ally. The aide was not authorized to be publicly identified.
Ever since documents leaked in 2013 by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor, showed that the agency had been eavesdropping on the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, it had been understood that the United States had intercepted the conversations of allied politicians. Still, the latest report, if true, is bound to cause diplomatic embarrassment for the Americans, even though allies have spied on allies for centuries.
Mr. Hollande said last year that he discussed his concerns about N.S.A. surveillance withPresident Obama during a visit to the United States, and they patched up their differences.
After the Merkel disclosures, Mr. Obama ordered a review of N.S.A. surveillance of allies, after officials suggested that senior White House officials had not approved many operations. After the review, American officials said Mr. Obama ordered a halt to spying on the leaders of allied countries, if not their aides.
WikiLeaks, on its website, listed the contents of what it said were five selected “top” intercepts of communications involving French presidents — on subjects including a United Nations appointment, the Middle East peace process and the handling of the euro crisis — between 2006 and 2012.
The report also charted what were said to be telephone numbers listed by the N.S.A. as top French “intercept targets,” including that of the French president’s own cellphone, with some digits crossed out.
Mr. Hrafnsson refused to comment on how WikiLeaks had obtained the documents and declined to go into specifics about what else might be appearing in the French media, but said that “they can expect more revelations in the near future.”
The WikiLeaks release came a day before the French Parliament was expected to pass a bill legalizing broad surveillance of terrorism suspects. Privacy advocates have protested, but the government argues that it is just updating a 1991 law to grapple with modern threats and that it has tried to distance itself from American-style mass surveillance.