While at the WikLeaks website, I noticed another press release from last month announcing the early release of a document from the Vault 7 tranche that revealed the extensive attempts by the CIA to influence the 2012 French presidential elections. This has not received much media attention.
All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election. The revelations are contained within three CIA tasking orders published today by WikiLeaks as context for its forth coming CIA Vault 7 series. 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.
One interpretation of ‘infiltrating’ political parties is that the CIA were placing people in positions where they could obtain information that was meant to be private, either by having their operatives join the parties and rise up their ranks or they were cultivating (or even recruiting) high-ranking party people to provide information to them.
The documents only suggest that the CIA was gathering as much information as it could about the parties, their leaders, and policies and did not actually try to change the course of the election. Thus these actions could be dismissed as just the kind of intelligence gathering that governments do in other countries, even those that are ostensibly allies.
But the contacts of the Russian government with members of the Trump administration may be of the same nature, except that this was compounded by the Trump associates lying about it because lying is what they do instinctively. This is why overhyping this story in the absence of hard evidence is dangerous. Unless it can be shown that the contacts of the Russians with members of the Trump campaign members went much deeper than intelligence gathering and involved secret quid pro quos, it may turn out to be a damp squib and Trump can gloat once again about the lying media being out to get him.