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France wants answers from US over 'shocking' NSA snooping

The French government has summoned the US ambassador to respond to revelations of massive data gathering reported by Le Monde.

Declan McCullagh/CNET

The US may be in hot water with France following reports that the NSA snooped on a large number of French citizens.

A report published Monday by French paper Le Monde revealed the spying activities on the part of the National Security Agency, based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. From December 10, 2012, to January 8, 2013, the NSA made 70.3 million recordings of phone calls conducted by French citizens. The recordings, which also gathered SMS messages, were apparently triggered automatically based on certain key words.

The obtained documents have led Le Monde to believe that the NSA not only targeted people suspected of some association with terrorism but also those who simply worked in business or politics.

France's interior minister, Manuel Valls, called Le Monde's report "shocking," according to Reuters, and said that "if an allied country spies on France or spies on other European countries, that's totally unacceptable."

In response to Le Monde's story, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the US ambassador has been summoned to France and will be received at the French Foreign Ministry Monday morning.