By Deb Riechmann Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The French government has summoned U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin to explain a French newspaper report that the National Security Agency swept up 70.3 million French phone records in a 30-day period. Rivkin says he assured the French diplomatic talks over the issue will continue.
The French government, which issued the request Monday, called the practice “totally unacceptable” and wanted to know why the U.S. spied on one of its closest allies. Spying among allied countries is common, but the scope of the NSA surveillance, as revealed by leaker Edward Snowden, was larger than expected.
Le Monde reported that some conversations were automatically recorded, and that the surveillance operation also swept up text messages based on key words.
Similar programs have been revealed in Britain, Brazil, Mexico and Germany.