President Obama called French President Francois Hollande on Monday to discuss a report that the National Security Agency (NSA) gained access to the phone records of over 70 million French citizens over a 30-day period.
Obama told Hollande that the United States is reviewing its intelligence-gathering to ensure a balance between security and privacy. The White House said both presidents agreed they should continue diplomatic discussions about the issue.
The report, published in Le Monde newspaper, was based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian reporter who has been Snowden's closest collaborator in ensuring classified documents are made public.
The report alleges that when certain numbers were dialed, the conversations were automatically recorded. The surveillance operation also swept up text messages based on key words, Le Monde reported, based on records dated from Dec. 10 to Jan 7. Similar programs have been revealed in Britain, Germany, Brazil and Mexico.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the alleged practices "totally unacceptable," and Charles Rivkin, the American ambassador to France, was summoned by that country's government earlier on Monday.
Speaking at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxemborg Monday, Fabius said that Rivkin would be received at the Quai d'Orsay, home of the French Foreign Ministry, according to Reuters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.