Robert Harneis – TDO -Wikileaks has released documents that reveal US electronic and human spying on all major political parties and politicians in the 2012 presidential elections.

All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA's human ("HUMINT") and electronic ("SIGINT") spies. The revelations are contained within three CIA tasking orders published today by WikiLeaks. Named specifically as targets are the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) together with current President Francois Hollande, then President Nicolas Sarkozy, current round one presidential front runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Martine Aubry and Dominique Strauss-Khan.

Specific tasking included obtaining the "Strategic Election Plans" of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) Sarkozy’s party; schisms or alliances developing in the UMP elite; private UMP reactions to Sarkozy's campaign strategies. The espionage order for "Non Ruling Political Parties and Candidates Strategic Election Plans" which targeted Francois Holland, Marine Le Pen and other opposition figures required obtaining opposition parties' strategies for the election; information on internal party dynamics and rising leaders; efforts to influence and implement political decisions; support from local government officials, government elites or business elites; views of the United States; efforts to reach out to other countries, including Germany, U.K., Libya, Israel, Palestine, Syria & Cote d'Ivoire; as well as information about party and candidate funding.

Significantly, two CIA opposition espionage tasks, "What policies do they promote to help boost France's economic growth prospects?" and "What are their opinions on the German model of export-led growth?" resonate with a US economic espionage order from the same year. That order required obtaining details of every prospective French export contract or deal valued at $200m or more.

The opposition espionage order also placed weight on obtaining the candidates' attitudes to the EU's economic crisis, centering around their position on the Greek debt crisis; the role of France and Germany in the management of the Greek debt crisis; the vulnerability of French government and French banks to a Greek default; and "specific proposals and recommendations" to deal with "the euro-zone crisis".

The CIA operation ran for ten months from 21 Nov 2011 to 29 Sep 2012, crossing the April-May 2012 French presidential election, the parliamentary elections in June and several months into the formation of the new government.

Apart from obvious concerns about the United States’ cavalier attitude to a close ally the documents pose two interesting questions. First, bearing in mind that Human Intelligence was authorized, it will be a hot issue to find out who the human agents within the French political parties are or were. Second the CIA sought information on ‘party and candidate funding’. Recent well organized and highly damaging leaks of the use made by Republican candidate François Fillon of his parliamentary allowances has been blamed on the French government. Similar attacks have been made on National Front candidate Marine Le Pen for her use of European parliamentary expenses. Both candidates favor better relations with Russia and Syria and a foreign policy more independent of the United States. It will not take a great leap of the imagination by French people to conclude that in fact the troubles heaped on Fillon in particular came from across the Atlantic rather than closer to home.

The current palaver in Washington over alleged Russian hacking of the US elections looks pretty silly in the light of these newly revealed CIA documents. It is also a safe assumption that the same spying operation is under way today for the current elections.

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