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back to article Sacre Bleu! US fingered for Flame attack on Élysée Palace

US-sponsored snoopers hacked into the computers of the Élysée Palace earlier this year ahead of the French presidential election and lifted top secret information, using what appears to be the notorious Flame malware, a French newspaper has alleged. The attack, which occurred in May a few days before the second round of the …

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The people who count will give the USA a free pass on acting like China on this

Those people being US citizens, since the rest of us don't get a vote. It is routine for them and their country to criticize, impose sanctions on and even invade other governments and countries for doing what they themselves routinely do.

They're our self-styled world police and they act with the same monumental hypocrisy and disregard for the rule of law that we in the new world sadly have come to expect from our police.

The big question in my mind is whether the USA has broken into UK, Canadian or Australian government networks, and *IF SO* was the lack of reports of this due to incompetence or "patriotism to a foreign power".

Hopefully the USA did not, *BUT* if they did, (a) would it be discovered, (b) if discovered would the individual discovering it and his bosses pass that information up the chain to elected officials of their own country, and (c) would anyone let voters know the USA was spying on an ally?

I hope I'm not being too strong here, but I have strong concerns on this issue and the extent to which the patriotism of too many Canadian and UK government-employed security service and military people have to their own country is questionable.

I'm a dual citizen, Brit living in Canada for a long time. I can tell you that in Canada loyalty is questionable for a significant number of people I've met, but I've only met a tiny percentage of the total number of such employees. So patriotism to Canada taking second place to patriotism to a foreign power is something I've seen, but I have no idea if it is a big issue or tiny. Canada only sent a tiny contingent of snipers to Iraq for example, and them going was done covertly without the knowledge of voters at the time.

As far as the UK goes, well we had that dodgy dossier, the guy in charge of it got promoted, there was that attack on Iraq and Tony Blair has still not been sent to The Hague to have his guilt or innocence judged by a fair impartial court. So from here it seems to be a bigger issue back there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The people who count will give the USA a free pass on acting like China on this

only a fool would blindly trust his/her allies and never try to check what they are up to, or worse what they didn't tell him/her.

While the benefit and strength of your allies will benefit you; your own benefits and strength will benefit you even more since they will reduce your dependence on your allies!

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Re: The people who count will give the USA a free pass on acting like China on this

Just to be clear, I'd have only minor objections to Canada becoming the 51st through 63rd states. But until that time, comes Canadian government employees should have loyalty to Canada first.

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Re: The people who count will give the USA a free pass on acting like China on this

So you won't object to your allies spying on you?

Do you go so far as to be content if some US soldiers and intelligence agency employees have greater loyalty to other countries than the USA?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WatAWorld @ 21 Nov 2012, 07:32 GMT

there is difference between not objecting and knowing that it does happen.

and believe or not, but the social interaction with a spy will show that s/he is loyal to you when in actual fact they are loyal to someone else. Oh, and don't be surprised to find out that your own intelligence community have someone in your local organization.... checking things out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The people who count will give the USA a free pass on acting like China on this

>The big question in my mind is whether the USA has broken into UK,

>Canadian or Australian government networks,

Why should this be the big question?

Are you saying that it's OK to do this against France but really the buck should stop at Australia, Canada & UK?

Because they all speak the same language?

Talk about elastic morality!

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Thumb Down

Re: The people who count will @AC 08:27

"Why should this be the big question?"

Err, because this is an anglophone website with a primarily UK readership, and a significant number of contributers in Canada, Aus, and NZ (not to mention the US)?

"Are you saying that it's OK to do this against France ...?"

Go on then, point me to where that claim was made or implied.

"Talk about elastic morality!"

Talk nonsense, more like.

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Happy

There are some problems with your post.

"We have no greater partner than France, we have no greater ally than France. We cooperate in many security-related areas. I am here to further reinforce those ties and create new ones."

So guess that confirms UK as being second rate now then. Bet the dynamic duo will be pleased to know this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There are some problems with your post.

I wouldn't take much notice of that. Firstly, he's probably on a charm offensive to placate the French, secondly note how they say exactly the same thing regardless of the country they are visiting or being asked a question about.

This "special relationship" is all one way and it makes us look pathetic to keep fretting over it.

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Big Brother

Re: There are some problems with your post.

> he's probably on a charm offensive

It's a "she", commonly known as "Big Sister". Yes that kind of "she".

And then, the "biggest ally" for which there is "no daylight" between it and the USA is - of course - That Country With The Bombable Ghettos, because it controls quite a lot of money during elections.

France? Not so much. Remember "Freedom Fries" and all the hostile crap back when they didn't immediately toe the Iraq invasion line? Of course, thing have changed somewhat as Sarko was a far more pliant fellow, but still.

Politicans. Lie lie lie. Fuck up. Lie some more.

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Re: There are some problems with your post.

"We have no greater partner than France, we have no greater ally than France. We cooperate in many security-related areas. I am here to further reinforce those ties and create new ones.""

No, we in the UK are the Yanks' poodle, and they know that. So the "special relationship" continues unabated.

But given that the French so distrust the Yanks that they developed their own independent nuclear deterrent, and won't commit French forces to NATO (unlike the UK), think how this statement actually reads to the French. Not only does it appear that they have been hacked by the Yanks, but the Yanks then brazenly lie to the Frenchies faces in a manner that I suspect is intended to be seen as a calculated insult.

Arguably all of this indicates that the French are right not to trust the Americans.

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FAIL

Re: There are some problems with your post.

"But given that the French so distrust the Yanks that they [...] won't commit French forces to NATO (unlike the UK), "

Not very up to date are you.

Those French troops in Afghanistan were some kind of a mirage?

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Re: There are some problems with your post.@John Hughes

You're right, Sarkozy rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure a couple of years back after a mere 40 years of refusing to play the game.

But the point remains that they don't trust the Yanks. Which is why (of many examples) they are persisting with pouring money into A400M when a C17 would be a cheaper and better purchase. And to judge by the similar persistence of "cheese eating surrender monkey" jibes, the Yanks don't really like them, and the US press still reflect that that flavour, albeit mildly:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/faster-nato-france-ends-afghan-combat-role-17766137

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Holmes

Reading Unencrypted Emails?

> his team had been able to read unencrypted emails between the Home Office and the British Embassy in Paris

But, but - my God! - that means the French can read English plain text!

Time to switch to cockney rhyming slang, chaps!

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Re: Reading Unencrypted Emails?

The ability to read them is no surprise of course - otherwise, they'd be encrypted - but the *act* of reading them is a major diplomatic breach: the Embassy's communications are supposed to be completely untouchable by the host country, whether encrypted or not. Admitting to snooping on them should be an enormous 'faux pas', if our government actually cared about sticking up for its treaty rights...

(Not that there would be anything too interesting anyway: I'm sure we aren't naive enough to *rely* on the legal protection for anything really sensitive!)

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What?! Emails are not confidential?

No kidding....

Allies spying on allies? Not really surprising, but as the article says, "to make the mistake of being caught doing it is another matter."...

Anyway, it's a good thing to be rid of Sarkozy, he was pitiful on all accounts... what else could we expect from a business lawyer? If everything goes normal, we should see starting tomorrow if he is such a good lawyer in front of a judge, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/19/nicolas-sarkozy-judge-party-donations

PS: "Sacre Bleu" -> "Sacrebleu"

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Stop

Nah...

Amazing that we seem to be accepting the word of this French newspaper at face value. I don't buy that this was the US govt yet - it seems a trifle sloppy to be leaving such a big fat trail of activity. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, but there's a distinct lack of critical evaluation of sources in this article.

However I am a bit gobsmacked that the leader of a first-world country in the 21st century didn't have a networked PC!

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Meh

Re: Nah...

"However I am a bit gobsmacked that the leader of a first-world country in the 21st century didn't have a networked PC!"

Well, for starters, the last thing most politicians want to leave is any evidence trail of their decisions and dealings. Moreover, why would any world leader want a networked PC, when you've got assorted foreign governments busy trying to hack the blasted things? Whether this was the US or not, in other areas there's some good reasons to believe that the Yanks, Israelis, Chinese, Russians and Iranians are all busily trying to damage each other's IT and infrastructure, and steal military and commercial information, and if they are at it then it seems probable that they won't be the only ones.

In fact, the only government who I believe innocent of such things are the British government, on the basis that they are too gormless to seek political or commercial advantage by such means. A cynic could also question SIS competence in this area, but as they advertise on El Reg they evidently think some of the rest of you lot have the necessary skills, if only you'll take the king's shilling (but you'll have to bring your own holdall).

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Facepalm

Re: Nah...

It fairly provably isn't the US govt. The so called "evidence" is pretty thin too - the low standard of code that allegedly only the US could put together, and "servers in 5 continents" - I have servers in 5 continents, does that mean it was me? Also arguing how long it took the French to clear it off their system as some indicator to sophistication level is fairly absurd too. Neither flame nor stuxnet were of any particular standard that was impressive.

Not for nothing but the people who started the allegations were the Russians. EK's FSB links (he is a Институт криптографии, связи и информатики; ИКСИ Академии ФСБ России graduate after all) are no secret so remind me again why we take his company's world over all else? Given that everybody hit by both stuxnet AND flame targets are more obvious motives if you link them to Russia I'm more than happy to call bull.

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Personally I think it's a bloody good thing that a country leader not waste his time on a PC - he's got underlings for that sort of thing and he's not got time to waste on Minesweeper.

I expect my President to be spending his time in talks and negotiations with any and everyone that can influence my country, not mucking about with Facebook and a crackable web connection.

Just think of the humongous amount of egg-on-face if a country leader had his PC hacked and data stolen !

I don't think any President could survive that, especially if top-secret strategic data were to be found stolen.

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