Israel ‘tampered’ with French PM’s cellphone
Israel may have hacked into French Prime Minister Manuel Valls during the latter’s visit to Israel in May, according to a report by the French newspaper L’Express.
The report claims that Valls and his advisors were requested to hand over their phones to the Israeli security services prior to their meeting with Israeli officials. After the phones were returned to the French delegation, some of the members noticed a number of unusual problems which aroused their suspicion.
When Valls returned to France, all the telephones belonging to the delegation were handed over to the department of intelligence security and the National Security Agency to ascertain whether the telephones had indeed been tampered with by a third party.
Despite the rumors, the French intelligence services have not as yet published their findings. For its part, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has denied the validity of the newspaper’s claims and has dismissed any accusations of spying on Prime Minister Valls. “This absolutely never happened. Israel sees France as a friend and passes intelligence information according to the need. It does not spy on her,” the statement read.
Another senior official was more forthright in his rejection of the claims: “The report is complete nonsense . It says they left their phones outside (the meeting). But what it does not say that there is always an entourage that does not go into the meeting and stands by the place where they leave their phones. So someone came and tampered with the phones then? Somebody has been eating magic mushrooms.”
French media expressed surprise that of all people, Valls, who is considered to be among Israel’s closest allies, was the ‘victim’ of the Israeli security services during his state visit between 21 and 24 May.
“When the delegation had their cellphones returned to them, many of them were surprised to find that they were having trouble with the signal,” L’Express reported. The French Prime Minister’s Office however, sought to calm the concerns by assuring that checks on phones conducted by the French intelligence agencies is standard procedure upon the return of senior French officials from visits to foreign countries.
In any event, the French PMO declared, “Allies never spy on other allies,” a statement grossly at odds with past leaks which have emerged on Wikileaks showing that allies spying on other allies is not uncommon.