Marine Le Pen: U.S. is Not an 'Ally or Friend' to France

Le Pen says US is no ally
France's far-right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a political rally in Six-Fours, near Toulon, March 16, 2015. Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

The leader of France's far right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has declared that the United States is not "an ally or a friend" to the French, in light of Wikileaks reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on three French presidents.

According to classified documents leaked by the whistleblower site Wikileaks this week, former French presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, and incumbent François Hollande were all subject to U.S. wiretapping during their time in office. The reports have triggered public outrage from French officials, similar to the reaction from German politicians when reports that the NSA also wiretapped Angela Merkel came to light last year.

Le Pen, who is often critical of France's role as a Nato and EU member, condemned both the US for keeping tabs on French politicians and presidents Sarkozy and François Hollande, accusing them of "extraordinary complacency" in willingly ignoring US spying.

"France should react with firmness and send out a strong signal today by pulling out of discussions over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty," Le Pen wrote in a statement, referring to the deal being discussed by the European Parliament to revise corporate rights in dealings with governments. She and other eurosceptics have opposed the TTIP plan.

Commenting further on the Wikileaks reports, Le Pen accused the US of threatening France's independence, sovereignty and national security. The Front National leader claims that for French citizens the reports represent "a very serious drift in our freedoms, our independence and our honour."

"The US are a hegemonic power, prepared to do anything in order to increase its grip on our country" Le Pen said. "The French must recognize that the United States, which is to say its government that we clearly distinguish from its people, are not a country that is an ally or a friend."

Le Pen also dismissed Sarkozy's decision to restore France to Nato's integrated military command in 2009 as a "strategic mistake". Former leader Charles de Gaulle removed France from the role in 1966, fearing it harmed France's sovereignty.

Although Front National have largely been sidelined by France's two party system, Le Pen's emergence as leader in 2011 has dramatically changed its standing in French politics, and Front National won more votes than any other French party during last year's European Parliament elections. Le Pen has focused on rebranding the party, severing its far right roots and instead siding with the eurosceptic movement. She has already topped polls ahead of 2017's presidential election.

The party has grown increasingly friendly towards Russia during the Ukraine crisis, condemning Hollande's decision to suspend a military warship delivery to Russia in light of the Kremlin's involvement in eastern Ukraine.

Front National has also received a multimillion euro loan from a Moscow-based bank, claiming that no bank in Europe wanted to lend them money. Meanwhile Le Pen's party was subject to a leak earlier this year when Russian hackers published message exchanges purporting to be between a Kremlin official and a man with access to Le Pen.

In the conversation the two negotiate the possibility of Le Pen endorsing the Russian annexation of Crimea and visiting the peninsula as "an observer".

Marine Le Pen: U.S. is Not an 'Ally or Friend' to France | World