North America

Obama-Hollande readouts are quite different

Presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande in happier times. (Photo: ERIC FEFERBERG, AFP)When President Obama calls a foreign leader, the White House and the other country often release readouts of the conversation — and sometimes they are very different.
Take Monday's call between Obama and French President Francois Hollande about news reports that the National Security Agency has conducted intelligence gathering in France.
The Hollande readout was much more critical.
Olivier Knox of Yahoo News, who translated the French statement, pointed out some of the differences in tone.
For example, the White House readout says: "The United States and France are allies and friends, and share a close working relationship on a wide range of issues, including security and intelligence."
The French readout: "The Head of State shared his deep disapproval regarding these practices, which are unacceptable between allies and friends, because they violate the privacy of French citizens."
A French newspaper said the NSA gathered more than 70 million French phone records during a recent 30-day period.
Also from the two readouts:
The United States said that Obama and Hollande "discussed recent disclosures in the press — some of which have distorted our activities and some of which raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed."
The French said Hollande asked Obama for "a full accounting (of the reported spying) as well as all of the information that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden might have in his possession."
From Yahoo News:
"It's not unusual for world leaders to stress different aspects of a telephone conversation, but even by those standards the conversation prompted by Snowden's latest leaks is remarkable.
"Shocked, shocked France is hardly a stranger to spying — experts say Paris developed its sizeable nuclear arsenal by stealing U.S. atomic secrets. And its networks across Africa and the Middle East share valuable information with their American counterparts, U.S. officials say. …
"But diplomats complain that Obama has done next to nothing to help elected officials in allied countries tamp down anger among their voters at American spying. They say the U.S. president's total lack of even feigned contrition in effect forces other leaders to take a tougher public line."

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