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France summons U.S. envoy over spying claims

Leaked documents released claimed the United States wiretapped three French leaders, including President Hollande

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has summoned the U.S. ambassador over leaked documents that suggest her government spied on President Francois Hollande and two predecessors, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

The source told AFP that U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley had been summoned for a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the documents published by Wikileaks on Tuesday.

France said Wednesday that spying was "unacceptable between allies" after WikiLeaks said leaked documents showed that the U.S. wiretapped President Francois Hollande and his two predecessors.

"It is unacceptable between allies," French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said, shortly before an emergency meeting called by Hollande with his security chiefs.

"It is difficult to accept that between allies... there can be this kind of activity, particularly related to wiretapping linked to the president of the Republic," Le Foll said.

"When we are fighting terrorism, one has trouble imagining or understanding what would motivate an ally to spy on his allies," he added.

Le Foll also tried to play down the controversy, saying it was not something that should trigger a major crisis.

"There are enough dangerous crises in the world today," he said.

The White House insisted Tuesday it is not targeting Hollande's communications and will not do so.

“We are not targeting and will not target the communications of President Hollande,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price, without addressing what surveillance might have been done in the past.

“We do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and validated national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike,” he said.

“We work closely with France on all matters of international concern, and the French are indispensable partners.”

The documents released by WikiLeaks -- classed as “Top Secret” and first reported in partnership with French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website -- also revealed that Hollande approved secret meetings on the consequences of a Greek exit from the eurozone as early as 2012.

The disclosures prompted the French leader to call a defense council meeting first thing Wednesday “to evaluate the nature of the information published by the press on Tuesday evening and to draw useful conclusions”, said one of his aides.

The release also comes just weeks after President Barack Obama signed into law landmark legislation ending the government's bulk telephone data dragnet, significantly reversing American policy by reining in the most controversial surveillance program since 9/11.