back to article Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron, the front-runner in France's presidential election, has condemned the online leakage of what's alleged to be his campaign staff's emails. A 9GB cache of internal documents was dumped onto the Magnet file-sharing network on Friday night, less than two days before the French people go to the polls on Sunday. …

Anonymous Coward

Re: So, just another day in the office...?

In other words: you can't trust anyone whose only motive is profit: there will always be more profit in betrayal and lying about it than in doing right by one's customers.

We'll talk soon. I may have news for you :)

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Business as usual

The early comments from Macron's people seem to be pretty predictable - "It was all perfectly normal internal communications, except for the bad stuff, which was all made up."

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Re: Business as usual

And probably they're telling the truth. The dump was timed to interfere with an election to be held tomorrow.

It doesn't have to withstand any scrutiny, just look superficially convincing - dump a heap of legitimate low level stuff as filler (e.g. hacked party mailing list), and fake up some bank statements and hope it convinces some people to vote for the other candidate. Russia's candidate.

Of course it could be real but since Macron has started legal proceedings on the matter, there is a perfect opportunity to find out for sure in court.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

"However, it may be that many French voters will be unwilling to vote for Le Pen after such a crass attempt to influence a democratic election by hacking."

Russia and China hack whether you cooperate with them or not. I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump for the fact that Hillary got hacked.

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Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

Its pretty much normal of liberals to blame other side as well as Russia it seems now. We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was russia but they expect people to believe it. They still push it was russia here in the US yet FBI that least 5 foreign gov hacked Clintons email server but that mostly ignored so. Likely we will never know who did it but you are expected to believe baseless claims.

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Stop

"I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

I would assume that there is a good number of French patriots who would fundamentally oppose electing a leader that is beholden to foreign interests. Only US party politics are so messed up that such a thing could count as 'business as usual'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

"electing a leader that is beholden to foreign interests"

Russia is a broke, weak country, and Putin a 4th-rate leader. The idea that he influences US policy is just a late-night TV comedian's meme. No serious student of geopolitics believes it.

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Facepalm

"... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

There is ample proof for Russian trickery online and offline. Take the Crimea invasion and all the FUD Russia spread while it was ongoing. Yet we now have ample evidence of what they did, when they did it and how they did it. Take the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine. Thorough international investigations established a lot of details that pinpoint the origin of the rocket, yet Russian sources spread ever more intricate stories of FUD (most of which got disproven quite quickly).

It's hard to give 'absolute proof' for anything, but when it comes to online malfeasance, Russia has a well established history of mucking about. Someone obviously created and financed an infrastructure in Russia to lead propaganda warfare against western Governments and I would be thoroughly astonished if that source of misinformation would suddenly vanish. It's people being payed to do that stuff and they will continue doing it while the money flows. So the only question is: what are they going to focus on after the French election? We can expect the same for the German election and for every major news story that puts Russia and the West in conflict.

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Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

As the Roman said, 'cui bono'

In the Cold War, there was the allied Western Europe with US behind them. But that was balanced by a Warsaw Pact bloc which could trade within itself on USSR terms. And the Westen Europe became a trading bloc. Then the Eastern bloc dissolved and the Western allied group developed into an EU, and got bigger with several of the former Warsaw pact countries joining in.

The Russian sphere of influence into the rest of Europe has weakened. And if the EU is more distracted by its internal politics or even disorganized or diminished by members leaving, that would put Russia in a stronger political and hence trade position.

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@Andy Prough

Given the timing of some statements from Trump campaign officials who appear to have known about the timing of Hillary data dumps, and going from initial blanket denials of any contact to ever lengthening lists of team Trump members who were in contact with Russians, I think suggesting "well the Russians will do it anyway" (while it may be true) is an increasingly specious argument to make.

Given the Russian loan for LePen, which was supposedly personally approved by Putin himself, it looks even more specious in her case. If the only loan you can is from a guy whose government hacks your opponent an hour before French law imposes a media blackout on the election, the idea she wasn't colluding with him is frankly ridiculous.

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Holmes

Re: "I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

If the Russian connection is proven/believed--Russia wins because of doubt and discord sown against Le Pen supporters in the divided electorate in France.

If the Russian connection is disproven/not believed--Russia wins because of doubt and discord sown against Macron supporters in the divided electorate in France.

The problem is not Russia, its the division between more globablization/immigration/Brussels and more nationalism/immigration restrictions/home rule.

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Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

"I doubt French voters will blame her"

Maybe not, but they may well take umbrage at such shenanigans and vote against her as a protest against such interference. That would be their only options given that there can be few French voters also entitled to vote against Putin.

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Re: "I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

Plenty of French voters will criticise her, same as plenty of US voters criticise Trump. My own opinion is that Russia has tried to influence the elections, not so much to get 'their guy' in but just to bugger up the countries by fomenting as much argument and recrimination as possible, and just possibly get a less competent politician in a position of power.

It is less effective than shutting down the infrastructure but arguably not an act of war. The problem is Russia, but I agree, it is not that big a problem.

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Re: @Andy Prough

And of course the idea that French or western banks would refuse a loan to a party that might do something to force the said banks to operate in a more open style for the benefit of all their customers instead of themselves,criminals and a tiny rich elite has nothing to do with the fact that Russia is probably the only ones who would lend her the money ?

Of course if all political parties had to stay within in very strict limits of spending,all had to be fully open about sources of money might help a bit too..

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JLV
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Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

>The Russian sphere of influence

Don't disagree with you, but the Warsaw Pact was largely imposed on most of its members. The Russians believe they should have a say in their "near abroad" but not many of their former vassal states agree nowadays.

Putin needs to stir s&*t up because at core Russia is a near bankrupt, corrupt, country and he hasn't delivered much good to his people. So electoral trickery, home and abroad, playing on nostalgia for Soviet era "greatness", xenophobia, foreign enemies and gtetting in bed with Orthodox bigots are all in the game plan.

However, I also think that Putin should have kept his powder dry - too much of this blatant crap and he's risking not having the desired effect.

I used to think he was at least fairly non-corrupt himself and just a control freak. However we are slowly learning that the top Russian govt folks have skimmed tons of money.

Le Pen, whatever her numerous other faults are, deserves special oppobrium for licking his butt. I refer to taking Russian $ for her party. Something that she controlled, unlike these hacks which are not provably her idea.

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Re: Seems presumptuous to blame Le Pen personally

Perhaps liberals (I am happy to be called liberal in the classical sense) see that Russia has both the interests and the capability?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

Of course powers respect each other's political processes to a very limited degree, to say the least. That is hardly novel, or unique to one particular actor, but ...

> Take the Crimea invasion and all the FUD Russia spread while it was ongoing.

That seems like a terrible example to use, considering that the Crimean population (the demographics of which are complex) chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a vote the legitimacy (as opposed to the legality) of which to my knowledge has not been questioned by anyone, including Ukraine. From that point onwards, and with Russia having accepted the re-annexation, it seems natural that they would provide defence to their (once again) homeland, with a degree of openness befitting the diplomatic situation at the time.

I am sure there are good examples of Russian covert intervention in other countries' affairs, but this is not one of them.

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Re: "... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

So why don't we just nuke them now, if everything's as clear cut as you say? Of course, it has occurred to some of us that there is a huge drive to demonise Russia, and nothing is ever said about this. If one used an argument like yours in a court of law, you would be (rightly) laughed out of the courtroom. The moment facts give way to paranoia, you've lost.

Given the logical result of what a lot of people like you are proposing is a third world war, I do have to ask in all seriousness: Will you finally be happy? At least here in Switzerland, I have access to a civilian bunker, and other emergency infrastructure that you do not have in the UK.

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Re: "... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

How make the logical leap that accepting that Russia is actively trying to subvert the elections of other countries implies you should support nuking them? There is a long history of statecraft/spycraft where countries have historically tried to undermine each other in all sorts of ways, and they've rarely escalated into shooting wars, let alone wars of mass destruction.

The correct response is 1) hack Putin and his lackeys and air that dirty laundry and do your best to make it known to Russia's citizens and 2) figure out ways to shore up security so it is harder for Putin to do these sort of hacks in the first place.

In an ideal world an altruistic organization like Wikileaks claimed to be would take the position that the problem isn't that Clinton and Macron got hacked and had their dirty laundry aired, but that Trump and LePen did not suffer the same fate. If politicians knew that all their skeletons would be made visible to the public, maybe we'd have a better class of candidate and we wouldn't have ended up with the Hobson's choice between Clinton and Trump in the first place! Because there's surely no way either could have survived the process if we knew all their secrets during the primaries.

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Re: "... We will never see 1 piece of proof that it was Russia ..."

I remain fairly convinced that Clinton's emails was a storm in a tea cup. It was overblown to say the least. Not least because trump and his cronies have and are doing the exact same thing.

And the more that comes out about trump, the worse he looks - the access to visas scandal (from what, yesterday?) as just one obviously criminal example.

Clinton was a bad candidate, but she'd have won against a clearly worse candidate if not for a dozen different reasons, including the hacks, sexism, Comey's dubious FBI statements on the eve of the election, voter disenfranchisement, and Gerrymandering. Each only affected the outcome by a few percent, but it added up to a victory for trump - where she won by 3 million votes, but lost the electoral college FPTP system.

Russian attacks and dark money are clearly also in there too, but there it was just more grist to the mill that wore HRC down.

France was way more obvious - Russian funding of the one side, and targeted leaking against the other.

Meanwhile the BBC sits there having a go at French reporting for "not being balanced"! One side is a nice enough guy, the other is a woman who wants concentration camps again! Fecking "balance"! From the organisation that has 2/3rds of UKIP's seats, on Question Time every week!

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Re: "I doubt French voters will blame her any more than American voters blamed Trump"

They are not so broke that they can't purchase influence from a self serving greedy narcissist who wants a title more than actually doing his job.

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I'm not sure. It is easy to say "Guess who". But the real question is "What is the game that is being played?". And just to add to the fun of this is the question "Who is playing?". As there I such a short time period, between now and the French vote, then there is a serious question about the game.

In simple terms, even if this were a marginal vote it is unlikely to make a difference to the result (if the reported pollster margins are even about accurate). So this is either a braggadocio statement (as in "look what we can do / have done") or it is a long ball game. And that is where the analysis without information becomes somewhat problematic.

It could be a false flag (as in "I know I am safe and so this will be a very good way of proving they are baddies")

Or it might be a false flag (as in "if we release this then no-one will believe it is us; so we shall get brownies in the long term")

Or it might be a false flag (as in "well we know we knew it but everyone is going to blame one of the other two players and this will destabilise both of them and their country in the long term")

Or it could be...

Well - no source, no evidence trail, quite a lot of potential players -

Why not select the one's you would like to see as culpable.

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Anonymous Coward

Add: For how long?

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swaying elections

Before you say the margins are too wide in polls for this to sway the election, remember that going into election day Clinton was expected to beat Trump by a landslide. This is definitely an attempt to influence voters. A hack that apparently took place several weeks ago dumped just as the candidates go into a quiet period where they cannot respond. You have to wonder if this is the new weapon in the assault on democracies. Hack the candidates and then selectively release information when it can do the most damage and sway opinion to the party that will support the most favourable policies.

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Re: swaying elections

I'm not sure this is the point "when it can do the most damage". A week or two ago, giving time to analyse the massive cache, would have been far better.

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Re: swaying elections

"A week or two ago, giving time to analyse the massive cache, would have been far better."

No, it's the classic "surprise" strategy. Dump the so-called incriminating evidence just before the voting takes place. It allows no time for analysis or rational thought, which means one's tendency towards suspicion takes hold.

The only difference between this and the decades-ago technique of stuffing "scandal" flyers under windshield wipers the day before an election is that this can be done on a far more widespread scale.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: swaying elections

"Before you say the margins are too wide in polls for this to sway the election, remember that going into election day Clinton was expected to beat Trump by a landslide. "

Heard this before, but not sure where it's come from. On polling averages Clinton was 3% ahead the day before the election - pretty close to the actual result (+2.1%).

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Re: swaying elections - timing

@Chris Miller

it was certainly too late for the presidential election, and whoever did that knew it, but next month are the parliamentary elections, which will be almost as important for the 5 years to come. Macron's party is hardly 1-year old and they've not elected 1 député (MP) yet, so a lot of people doubt that he'll manage to get a majority to from his government.

*IF* there was a smoking gun in the leaked documents, a few weeks is all it takes to ruin his campaign (see how fast FIllon went from 1st to 3rd place after the revelations over his wife's alleged "fake" parliamentary assistant job) and put him at the mercy of a government that opposes him.

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Noobs

The Russians need to up their game a little, and take a leaf out the USA's book, and plain invade more countries. This is just quaint meddling. Where's the coup's? Where's the bombs? They're such noobs.

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PTW

Re: Noobs

Have an up vote! Even if you include the USSR, Russia must still lag the US of A on interfering with other nations. IIRC hasn't the USA only had about 2 years in its history when it has not been at war?

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Re: Noobs

>Where's the coup's? Where's the bombs?

The Crimea? Ukraine?

I suspect they laugh at the US' ham-fisted and massively ill-judged attempts at controlling the middle east.

But in this case, yes, I think its just for the lulz.

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Re: Noobs

If I remember correctly, the Ukraine coup was "our guys" kicking out "their guys".

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Re: Noobs

The last time Russia decided to invade a country they did so by first using some highly skilled political manipulations and organised propaganda campaigns. When the need for military action came the ground was so well-prepared that their troops were able to simply stroll into Crimea with barely a shot fired - and officially still in a state where there was no formal war and their presence could be denied. Faced with a lack of support from the rest of Ukraine due to the aforementioned political manipulations the defenders mostly surrendered, allowing Russia to secure control with a minimum of resources expended. They then proceeded to establish a government effective enough to maintain peace, and embarked on a well-run campaign to win the support of the people through both open means such as investment in infrastructure and more repressive means including controlling the media and ensuring critics of the new regime were removed from positions of influence.

Now compare that to the total clusterfuck that was the US's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sorry, but while I have to oppose Russia on the grounds of being an oppressive tyranical regime bent on world domination, I still must admit: They are *good* at it.

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Re: Noobs

Get real. Russia is almost broke. Invasions are terribly expensive. Hacking is cheap. Not gonna happen.

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JLV
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Joke

Re: Noobs

>US's invasions of Afghanistan

yes... the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was a total success

Sorry, agree with your points in general but couldn't resist ;-)

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Meh

I rather hope...

...the French take their democracy a whole lot more seriously than do their US cousins.

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Anonymous Coward

counting the number of molotov cocktails being thrown at police

I would say they definitely do take it seriously. A bit too seriously it would seem.

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Coat

the hackers MAY be Russian, but...

the hackers MAY be Russian, but... is it so certain that the RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT would be sponsoring them?

Or is it possible they aren't pro-Putin hackers?

Same with other alleged "connections" to Russian hacking and politics. It seems to be a favorite 'whipping boy' these days.

/me getting my coat now

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Re: the hackers MAY be Russian, but...

Resoundingly yes of course the government is behind it.

I'd point out the question was put to FBI director Comey last week and he said Russia was definitely behind the attacks there too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the hackers MAY be Russian, but...

Also - no one talks about the Chinese, but they are hacking as much if not more than the Russians, and are far more powerful and capable of action.

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Anonymous Coward

Unable to keep vital information from thieves, check.

If you leave the door unlocked and Nixon steals your campaign plans, tough luck.

But, I would vote for Macron anyway, because he reminds me of a delicious sandwich cookie.

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Re: Unable to keep vital information from thieves, check.

"If you leave the door unlocked and Nixon steals your campaign plans, tough luck."

The door was locked.

Which, among other factors, is why Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James McCord, Eugenio Martínez and Frank Sturgis were charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other communications. On September 15, a grand jury indicted them for conspiracy, burglary, and violation of federal wiretapping laws. The five burglars who broke into the office were tried by a jury, Judge John Sirica officiating, and were convicted on January 30, 1973.

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Anonymous Coward

If I was selfish which I'm not I potentially would be hoping Le Pen wins to weaken the EU in it's negotiations with the UK. I'm sure others have thought of that scenario.

What exactly is going on here? It's all a bit too convenient for my liking especially with the email situation in the US with their election.

It's definitely state sponsored but I'm not sure Russia is the right state to blame. I mean as a country would you really be that obvious? What do they actually gain from Trump and Le Pen? More chance of war due to far right tendencies. Sure you could argue about instability but what's that going to get you? It just seems very odd to me.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's their own states and actors within them that want far right governments to give them more freedom to act in ways they wouldn't usually be able to under centre or left leaning governments. Think totalitarian.

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Anonymous Coward

"far right" is a misnoma

All we have is left and far left. The left love to label and compartmentalise everything, especially people, then everyone is a minority. Leaving no cohesion for revolution or "it's only a tiny minority" to victimise. The "far right" is simply another leftist label, this time to try and distance themselves from Nazism. Which the most current leftists seem so uneducated to know it was a socialist movement. [They're also too stupid to know that the reason there was such a fuss over Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech was, as a Conservative, he was siding with the Labour Party]

The 'right' would be conservatism with a very small "c" and in no way connected to the current Conservative Party in the UK, and 'far right' would be libertarianism.

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Re: "far right" is a misnoma

"far right" is a misnoma

"There is no left or right. There is no enemies." - quote is from one of the best movies on politics ever made and probably the best french movie about french politicians and politics: "Mort d'un pourri".

It took 30+ years for English subtitles to be finally added to this gem and it to be put on sale in the UK (the rest of the world has been watching it in the meantime).

I suggest grabbing a copy of Amazon. It is definitely worth it.

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Headmaster

Re: "far right" is a misnoma

It seems being unable to spell misnomer is the least of your worries.

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Given the French reputation for 'I'm all right Jacques' and general self-interest, I should think that a Le Pen presidency would be more likely to aim to screw the best deal for itself out of the Brexit negotiations thereby prolonging or confounding them to such an extent that UK ends up with an extra shifty end of an extra large stick to hold.

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Re: "far right" is a misnoma

"It seems being unable to spell misnomer is the least of your worries."

I'm sure it comes after "trying to reproduce the transporter accident that brought him here from the mirror universe".

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Anonymous Coward

@graeme leggett

I'm not so sure, she is campaigning a decidedly anti-European stance, referendum on membership, bring back the franc, reform into separate European states, close the borders. That's why I think it would weaken Europe's stance maybe breaking the EU completely.

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Re: "far right" is a misnoma

All we have is left and right - what about authoritarian and libertarian?

Political Compass French Election

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