Five Years Ago — NSA Hacked French President’s House [UPDATE : French President Emmanuel Macron Targeted by Pegasus]

“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. The story is a fact and there is no denying it. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“Other types of spyware are for sale to the nervous or suspicious who want to check on their family’s whereabouts. What all of this means, then, is that we may be stepping into a world in which we can all become spies – but can equally all be spied on.”

Pegasus scandal: Are we all becoming unknowing spies? (BBC — July 21 2021)

UPDATE (Sept. 3 2021) — Last month, an investigation by a group of 17 international media organisations and Amnesty International concluded that the Pegasus software, developed by Israeli company NSO Group, was used globally to hack the phones of journalists, activists and government officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron heads a list of 14 current or former heads of state who have been targeted.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, president Barham Salih of Iraq, King Mohammed VI of Morocco and three current prime ministers — Imran Khan of Pakistan, Mustafa Madbouly of Egypt, and Saad Eddine El Othmani of Morocco — are also on the list.

French daily Le Monde, determined that 15 members of the French government may have been among potential targets with Macron in 2019.

Reading the Main Stream Media stories, it appears that the world is shocked! Well, anyone who is surprised has not been paying attention…

RELATED POST: Former NSA Mike Flynn advised Israeli cyberweapons dealers

RELATED POST: Mexico spy on journalists, lawyers and activists using NSO Group’s Pegasus

PS — Posted 5 years ago, this story was a ‘big hit’ for Intel Today. Most French media discussed the NSA hack afterwards. Yet, this spy operation was never reported in the US mainstream media. Why not?

Imagine for a moment what those same 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…


“In the Intelligence World, you have some allies. You don’t have friends.”

Bernard Barbier — the Director of the DGSE Technical Division from 2006 to 2013

UPDATE (June 1 2021) — NSA eavesdropped on Merkel during Obama Presidency —

According to Denmark’s public broadcaster, Denmark helped the US National Intelligence Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on the phone calls and text messages of Angela Merkel and other leading politicians during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The operation — codenamed “Operation Dunhammer” — targeted the German chancellor, her foreign minister and the leader of the opposition in 2012 and 2014, as well as a number of unnamed senior politicians and officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway.

The Danish military intelligence service allowed the NSA to tap into neighboring governments’ communications through a listening post near Copenhagen airport, and a secret “back door” to underwater cables.

All over Europe, political leaders are truly shocked! They would not be if they had been reading this blog…

“This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking with Mrs Merkel.

“There is no room for suspicion between” the United States and its European allies, Macron said Monday, speaking after a Franco-German video summit.

“We requested that our Danish and American partners provide all the information on these revelations and on these past facts. We are awaiting these answers,” he added.

Merkel said she “could only agree” with Macron.

“It is unacceptable if countries which have close allied co-operation feel the need to spy on one another,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told public broadcaster NRK.

In a 2014 speech, President Barack Obama promised that the United States would not track the communications of “heads of state and government of our close friends and allies” — “unless there is a compelling national security purpose.”

Joe Biden was US vice-president at the time the “Operation Dunhammer” took place.


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana —  Philosopher, poet and novelist

The secret document  “SECRET//SI//NOFORN VISIT PRECIS BERNARD BARBIER”  confirms that Bernard Barbier — the Director of the DGSE Technical Division from 2006 to 2013 — 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

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]

French Capacity

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

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

How to detect sneaky NSA Quantum Insert Attacks — WIRED


NSA Hacked French President’s House

One Year Ago — NSA Hacked French President’s House

Two Years Ago — NSA Hacked French President’s House

Four Years Ago — NSA Hacked French President’s House

Five Years Ago — NSA Hacked French President’s House [UPDATE : French President Emmanuel Macron Targeted by Pegasus]

This entry was posted in Belgacom, Bernard Barbier, DGSE, Keith Alexander, NSA, Quantum Insert and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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