A war of words between the US and France over alleged spying allegations has escalated after US intelligence chief James Clapper publicly denied reports that his agencies had covertly recorded details of 70m French phone calls over a 30 day period.
Directly mentioning a report in Le Monde, based on documents sourced from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Clapper said that the article contained ‘misleading information’
In a statement Clapper said: “Recent articles published in the French newspaper Le Monde contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding US foreign intelligence activities.
"The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million 'recordings of French citizens' telephone data' is false."
Significantly however Clapper did not deny separate claims that the US had spied on French diplomats in order to sway a key UN vote.
Le Monde claimed that the NSA spied on 70.3m phone calls made in France between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013 – prompting French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to demand a full explanation from US secretary of state John Kerry.