The latest WikiLeaks revelations: What you need to know

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Wednesday 24 June 2015 11:40
news

On Tuesday WikiLeaks released its latest cache of secret US government documents which revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on French leaders for the last ten years.

Who exactly was the NSA monitoring?

French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande all had their phone conversations and emails intercepted during the period from at least 2006 until May 2012, when Hollande took office.

It is also thought that the communications of French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the US were monitored.

So what did we learn?

According to the documents, Sarkozy is said to have considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without US involvement, and Hollande feared a Greek eurozone exit back in 2012.

It is believed that the US was interested in information on Sarkozy's plans for intervention in Libya in 2011, and Hollande's ongoing actions in Mali.

Ironically, the documents also detail a dispute between the French and US governments over allegations of possible spying on France.

Didn't the US get in trouble for spying on Germany recently?

Well, yes. In 2013 NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US had been tapping German chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. The stasi-like echoes caused outrage in Germany and led the chancellor to complain to president Barack Obama in person.

(For the record, though, Snowden also revealed that Germany's own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe.)

Where did WikiLeaks get the documents from?

WikiLeaks hasn't revealed the source of the documents. Edward Snowden worked on a slightly different project and is thought not to have had access to this part of the programme.

How do we know we can trust it?

WikiLeaks says that the information comes from five top secret intelligence reports and technical document,s and spokeperson Kristinn Hrafnsoon said he is confident the documents are authentic.

Previous WikiLeaks mass disclosures have proven so - the German government has found grounds for an official investigation into the extent of NSA spying in that country.

What happens now?

Reuters reports that Hollande called a defence council meeting to discuss the ramifications of the leak on Wednesday, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement that more "important revelations" are to follow.

Last week WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia, promising half a million more in coming weeks.

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