“Keith Alexander (Director of the NSA) told me he was disappointed because he never thought we would detect them and he even added: You guys are good.”
Bernard Barbier — Director of the DGSE Technical Division
September 4 2016 — The NSA hacked the Élysée Palace in 2012, between the two rounds of the Presidential election. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: FRANCE — DGSE: Intelligence Directorate reorganized
UPDATE — The story of this NSA hack on the French President is a fact and there is no denying it. Yet, this story was never reported in the US ‘mainstream’ media… Imagine for a moment what those media would publish if we were to learn that some country — pick your favorite villain — had hacked the White House during the 2016 campaign? What goes around, comes around… This post was a ‘big hit’ and most French media discussed the story afterwards. END of UPDATE
The secret document “SECRET//SI//NOFORN VISIT PRECIS BERNARD BARBIER” confirms that Barbier visited the NSA on April 12 2013 to discuss the attacks. The US agencies had denied involvement in January and offered assistance in attributing the attacks.
This note offers a summary of the information published by the French Media:
An initial press report from Paris Atlantico, “French Web site Says Turkish Hackers Behind Elysée Cyber Attacks.” dated 12 July 2012 stated it was believed “the attacks originated from France’s allies” and speculated Turkish hackers with possible links to Turkish “intelligence services or government bodies” might be responsible.
Barbier claims in the interview that he came easily and quickly to the conclusion that only two countries –The US and Russia — were capable of such a sophisticated attack. Based on similarities with a previous attack the DGSE had investigated and understood, Barbier was 100% convinced that the attacks were coming from the NSA.
[Comment: Officially, it was nevertheless Turkey that was blamed for this hack in the French media… Does that ring a bell?]
‘Quantum Insert’ has been used to hack the machines. This type of attacks was used in the GCHQ/NSA operation against employees of the Belgian Telecom Belgacom, renamed Proximus today.
The malware was detected in May 2012 — between the two rounds of the Presidential election — and the help of the Technical Division of the DGSE was requested.
Bernard Barbier — the Director of the DGSE Technical Division from 2006 to 2013 — came to the conclusion that the US/NSA was behind the hack.
The fact that the NSA spies on the French President has shocked a few people but Barbier is not too surprised.
“In the Intelligence World, you have some allies. You don’t have friends.”
How Quantum Insert Works
According to various documents leaked by Snowden and published by The Intercept and the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Quantum Insert requires the NSA and GCHQ to have fast-acting servers relatively near a target’s machine that are capable of intercepting browser traffic swiftly in order to deliver a malicious web page to the target’s machine before the legitimate web page can arrive.
To achieve this, the spy agencies use rogue systems the NSA has codenamed FoxAcid servers, as well as special high-speed servers known as “shooters,” placed at key points around the internet. [WIRED]
According to Barbier, the difference in term of capacities between the French and the U.S. agencies is significant. The NSA enjoys a workforce 20 times larger (60,000 vs 3,000), and a budget 40 times bigger (US $50 Billions).
Even the GCHQ (UK) & UNIT 8200 (Israel) have twice more resources.
Warning & Recommendations
Barbier believes that the Intelligence capacities of France are not matching the geopolitical ambitions of the French Government.
If France gets involved in countries such Mali, Syria and Libya, then you must assume that “these guys” will not sit idle. They will attempt to make trouble in France. In his opinion, France does not have the Intelligence capacity to manage these threats.
Barbier ridicules the idea of a “European CIA/NSA.” However, he believes that a joint French-German Intelligence Agency could be established and would be very efficient. Such Agency would enjoy a workforce of 15 000 skilled people.
The interview of Bernard Barbier — in French — can be watched in this video. Unfortunately, the sound quality is quite bad. [Since the original post, the sound has been cleaned up a bit.]
Les Etats-Unis ont bien piraté l’Elysée en 2012 — Le Monde 03 September 2016
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