The French intelligence authorities rely too much on their US and UK counterparts, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told French Inter radio on Friday.
In June, WikiLeaks, published documents which indicated that the US National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapped two of France’s economy ministers and spied the strongest French companies. Moreover, another WikiLeaks document showed that the NSA spied on France’s last three presidents, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.
Assange commented on the WikiLeaks summer reports, saying that after the publication of the reports, Hollande wanted to grant him asylum but “despite encouraging signals [from the French president], the intelligence relationship between France and the United States and between France and the United Kingdom proved to be too strong for a president like François Hollande.”
Assange asylum in France
Assange lives in the embassy of Equador in London, for three years to avoid extradition to Sweden. The Wikileaks founder has not been formally indicted, but is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal coercion involving two Swedish women he met in 2010. Assange denies the allegations and believes extradition to Sweden is merely a first step in efforts to bring him to the US. On Friday, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that Assange should walk free and compensated.
After the UN report, Assange gave an interview with the French radio station revealing that Hollande was considering granting asylum to him because the French President wanted to show that France is an independent state not influence by the US.
“France had been the victim of American espionage, the French intelligence services also looked weak, for failing to protect three presidents from being spied on,” Assange said and added that “[Hollande] called a meeting of the country’s defense committee, wanting to make a symbolic action to show his strength [in granting asylum].”
Assange said that his lawyers were in touch with the French President discussing about Assange’s asylum application. The WikiLeaks Founder said Hollande wanted to make a “powerful symbolic gesture,” but this “never happened.”
“The increased supply of intelligence apparently was considered as more important than my asylum rights,” Assange concluded.