The director of national intelligence dismissed accusations Tuesday night that the National Security Agency listened in on 70 million French phone calls in a 30-day period.
James Clapper denied the eavesdropping, which was initially reported in the French newspaper Le Monde, calling the allegations “misleading” and “false,” the New York Times reports. The revelations came from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor now charged with espionage and theft for leaking confidential documents about the scope of NSA surveillance.
France is just the latest American ally to express outrage over revelations that the NSA used electronic surveillance within their borders. Mexico, Germany and Brazil are already upset about allegations of spying within their borders.
Le Monde also reported that information learned through wiretapping had played a “big role” in helping the United States secure a crucial vote in favor of a 2010 United Nations resolution to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Clapper did not address these allegations in his statement posted on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“While we are not going to discuss the details of our activities, we have repeatedly made it clear that the United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” the statement said.
French President François Hollande expressed “extreme reprobation” at the report, and President Barack Obama called him Monday to acknowledge the report in an attempt to smooth out the situation.