Adam Taylor. BUSINESS INSIDER|Nov. 21, 2012
A French magazine has published allegations that the team of Nicolas Sarkozy were the target of a US-born cyber espionage operation, just before this year’s French election which Sarkozy went on to lose.
(Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)
L’Express writes that several members of Sarkozy’s team were targeted by a virus that bore a strong similarity to Flame, the virus uncovered earlier this year that many believe to have been a joint US-Israeli effort. The virus reached the officials in May when a ‘false friend” of a Elysee Palace employee on Facebook tricked the employee into giving up an internal passcode, then spread a worm on the official network
Several unnamed French sources told the magazine that they firmly believe the US was behind the attack.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was interviewed by the magazine and did not respond directly when asked about the virus, the magazine reports, instead stating “We have no greater partner than France, we have no greater ally than France.”
Since the publication of the article, however, the U.S. Embassy in Paris has been “categorically refuting” the story, according to the AP. Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler gave a statement to the Hill that also denied the allegations, saying, “We categorically deny the allegations by unnamed sources that the U.S. government participated in a cyber attack against the French government.”