A new release from Wikileaks has revealed that the CIA took part in a seven-month long spying campaign against every major French political party and candidate before and after the nation’s presidential elections in 2012.
While the mainstream media continues to propagate a months-long frenzy based on unfounded claims accusing Russia of “meddling” in U.S. political affairs, Wikileaks has once again revealed new evidence exposing the real forces responsible for interfering in foreign electoral processes. Today, Wikileaks released three classified “tasking orders” from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that detail a seven-month long spying campaign and covert actions taken by the agency in France prior to the 2012 French presidential election. Wikileaks’ press release said that this latest release is meant to serve as context for an upcoming, major release of the cryptically-named CIA Vault 7 series, a release that will ostensibly shed light on some of the more sinister “meddling” of the CIA both domestically and abroad.
Though the release only contains seven pages, the documents showed that all major French political parties “were targeted for infiltration by CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies.” Specific targets included the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) along with several notable individuals including current President Francois Hollande, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, current presidential front-runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Dominique Strauss-Khan and Martine Aubry. The operation began on November 21, 2011, and ran until September 29, 2012. It then continued after the 2012 election and into the formation of the new presidential administration.
One of the more interesting revelations involved then-president Nicolas Sarkozy whose self-identification as “Sarkozy the American” was not enough to shield him from espionage during the election or during his time in office. The CIA also collected a wealth of information on candidates’ attitudes on a variety of issues including the E.U. economic crisis and the vulnerability of the French government and banking system to a potential Greek default. The information, according to the documents themselves, was collected with the intention of supporting the activities of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s E.U. division, and the State Department’s Intelligence and Research Branch.
News that the CIA interferes in foreign elections is not altogether surprising, given that the U.S. has been proven to have intervened covertly and directly in foreign elections more than 80 times since 1946. However, the news comes at an interesting time for France, whose next presidential election is fast approaching. Not surprisingly, the current French election campaign seems to be reliving some prominent elements of last year’s U.S. presidential election.
The current front-runner, Marine Le Pen – often likened to Donald Trump due to her populist and nationalist rhetoric – has been surging in the polls, especially as her top competitors have been repeatedly embroiled in corruption scandals. Now, her closest competitor, Emmanuel Macron, has decried Le Pen’s success as owing to alleged “Russian interference” targeting his campaign, prompting Macron to assert that Moscow is seeking to undermine French democracy. However, neither Macron nor his campaign has provided any concrete evidence to back up his accusations.
Le Pen, who was targeted for CIA espionage in 2012, stands the most to gain from these latest Wikileaks revelations as she can easily point to evidence that it is the United States that is more likely to be interfering in the French electoral process than Russia. It seems that the European political establishment failed to learn any lessons from last year’s U.S. election – blaming Russia for a candidate’s popularity problems while providing no concrete evidence is not a successful way of garnering support or sympathy from the general public.
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