Paris (AFP) – France believed the United States attempted to hack into its president’s communications network, a leaked U.S. intelligence document published on Friday suggests.
U.S. agents denied having anything to do with a May 2012 cyber attack on the Elysee Palace, the official residence of French presidents, and appeared to hint at the possible involvement of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, a classified internal note from the U.S. National Security Agency suggests.
Extracts from the document, the latest to emerge from the NSA via former contractor Edward Snowden, were published by Le Monde newspaper alongside an article jointly authored by Glenn Greenwald, the U.S. journalist who has been principally responsible for a still-unravelling scandal over large-scale U.S. snooping on individuals and political leaders all over the world.
The document is a briefing note prepared in April this year for NSA officials who were due to meet two senior figures from France’s external intelligence agency, the DGSE. The French agents had travelled to Washington to demand explanations over their discovery in May 2012 of attempts to compromise the Elysee’s communications systems.
The note says that the branch of the NSA which handles cyber attacks, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), had confirmed that it had not carried out the attack and says that most of its closest allies (Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand) had also denied involvement.
It goes on to note: “TAO intentionally did not ask either Mossad or (Israel’s cyber intelligence unit) ISNU whether they were involved as France is not an approved target for joint discussions.”