Report suggests Israel behind attempt to hack into French communication network
U.S. officials deny involvement in May 2012 cyberattack on Elysee Palace, hinting that Mossad was responsible for attempt, according to leaked document published by Le Monde.
The Mossad may have been involved in an attempt to hack into the former French president's communications network, AFP reported on Friday, citing a leaked U.S. intelligence document obtained by the French daily Le Monde.
According to the report, France believed that the U.S. was behind the May 2012 cyber attack on the Élysée Palace. But the U.S. National Security Agency denied having anything to do with the hacking, hinting instead that the Israeli intelligence agency may have been responsible for it.
The statements were detailed in the latest note to emerge from the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Parts of the note were published by Le Monde.
According to the report, the document was prepared earlier this year to brief NSA officials who were set to meet with senior French intelligence figures to discuss the attempt to breach the Elysee's communication system.
The document reportedly said that the NSA branch which handles cyber attacks, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), denied carrying out the attack. The U.S.' closest allies – Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand – also said they were not involved.
The note went on to say: “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.”
The Le Monde report viewed this sentence as an ironic reference to the likelihood that Mossad was responsible for the hacking.
The attempted breach took place in the final weeks of Nicolas Sarkozy’s term as president.
The leak comes amid a flurry of allegations that U.S. intelligence spied on governments of various countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that the United States strike a "no-spying" agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, saying alleged espionage against two of Washington's closest EU allies had to be stopped.
Speaking after talks with EU leaders that were dominated by allegations that the NSA had accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel's private mobile phone, the chancellor said she wanted action from U.S. President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
The United States has a "no-spying" deal with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, an alliance known as "Five Eyes" that was struck in the aftermath of World War Two.