When French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was visiting Israel from May 21 to 24 this year, he meant to carry a message of reconciliation to revive the peace process with the Palestinian Authority. But, according to a report in L’Express, the “friend of Israel” as Valls likes to present himself, did not expect the special reception he received: he and his entourage were asked to leave their secure phones before being ushered into high profile meetings, and when they took them back, the delegation was shocked to find that many of the phones showed signs of an “anomaly.”
Back in Paris, the devices that were suspected of having been handled by Israel were handed over to L’Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information (The National Agency for computer security, ANSSI) for further investigation, which is still ongoing.
“We never comment on the results of a potential attack,” an ANSSI spokesperson told L’Express. The spokesperson acknowledged that a laptop belonging to the prime minister’s entourage broke down during the visit to Israel, adding that “the current investigation is part of normal procedure,” and that allies don’t spy on one another.
L’Express expects that this suspicion of electronic monitoring may have an adverse effect on the already complicated relations between France and Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has issued a statement saying that “Israel denies this information. Israel considers France a friendly country, to which we transmit information if necessary, and against which we do not spy.”David Israel