Just days after WikiLeaks revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on three successive French presidents between 2006 and 2012, the whistleblower website accused the U.S. spy agency of wiretapping the communications of two successive French finance ministers and some of the country’s largest companies.
According to the latest documents, François Baroin and Pierre Moscovici, who headed the finance ministry between 2011 and 2014, were targeted by the NSA. French companies such as BNP Paribas, AXA, Credit Agricole, Peugeot, Renault, Total SA and Orange SA were among those spied on.
“The documents make clear that the NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in international bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities,” WikiLeaks said, in a statement released Monday.
Late on Monday, French newspaper Liberation reported, citing WikiLeaks, that at least 100 French companies, including almost all companies listed on the country’s benchmark stock market index CAC 40 -- whose “activities are considered strategic for the nation” -- were eavesdropped on.
“The United States has been conducting economic espionage against France for more than a decade. Not only has it spied on the French Finance Minister, it has ordered the interception of every French company contract or negotiation valued at more than $200 million,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the statement.
Additionally, deliberations within the French government over its policies on the World Trade Organization, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the G7 and the G20, the 2013 French budget and the involvement of French companies in the “oil for food” program in Iraq during the 1990s, were tracked by the NSA.
“The United States not only uses the results of this spying itself, but swaps these intercepts with the United Kingdom,” Assange alleged.
Last week, after documents revealed “unacceptable” spying by the NSA, U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly promised that the country was abiding by its commitment to not spy on the French president and its other allies. So far, the U.S. government has not responded to the latest claims by WikiLeaks.