“France tells US to ‘immediately’ stop spying” might be the silliest headline of all time given France’s large, aggressive, and quite competent intelligence community. Some perspective:
- List of Intelligence Agencies in France (Wikipedia)
- Air France Denies Spying on Travelers (New York Times)
- France is top industrial espionage offender (France24)
- A Case Study in French Espionage: Renaissance Software (US Department of Energy)
- A Chip Comes in from the Cold: Tales of High Tech Spying (AP)
- Ghosts in the machine: The who, why, and how of attacks on information security (SANS Institute – page 3)
- Espionage: The French Listen In To Their Allies as Well (Le Point, Paris)
- Evidence of French spying escalates a push to shield U.S. corporate secrets (The Baltimore Sun)
- French SIGINT platforms (Wikipedia)
- Spy chief charged with spying (The Connexion)
“This espionage activity is an essential way for France to keep abreast of international commerce and technology. Of course, it was directed against the United States as well as others. You must remember that while we are allies in defense matters, we are also economic competitors in the world.” – Retired Director of the DGSE, Pierre Marion
The bottom line – everybody spies and everyone is outraged when they catch the other guy doing it. Sometimes that outrage is genuine (There are some unwritten rules where allies are concerned) but mostly it’s just part of the game.
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