US Spy Agency 'Taped Millions of French Calls'

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The US National Security Agency secretly recorded millions of phone calls made in France, a French daily reported on Monday, citing documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

US Spy Agency 'Taped Millions of French Calls'

The spy agency taped 70.3 million phone calls in France over a 30-day period between December 10 and January 8, 2013, Le Monde reported in its online version.

According to the newspaper NSA used various methods to track and collect the phonecalls.

The NSA automatically picked up communications from certain phone numbers in France, which werethen recorded. The same system picked up and recorded text messages, based on certain key words that appeared. The NSA would also systematically record the communication history of each of their targets under a programme code-named "US-985D."

The techniques used to intercept communications appeared under the codes "DRTBOX" and "WHITEBOX". On average NSA were intercepting three million calls each day over the one month period, which at times rose to 7 million.

Le Monde said the documents gave grounds to think the NSA targeted not only people suspected of being involved in terrorism but also high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.

US authorities declined comment to the French daily on the "classified" documents.

But France's interior ministry was quick to react, with the minister Manuel Valls describing the revelations in Le Monde newspaper as "shocking", in an interview with French radio Europe 1.

The Le Monde article followed similar revelations by German weekly Der Spiegel that US agents had hacked into the email account of former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.

Mexican authorities have said they will be seeking answers from US officials "as soon as possible" following the allegations.

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



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