back to article WikiLeaks docs show NSA's 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

Franco-American relations have taken a further hammering on Monday after WikiLeaks revealed new documents showing that the NSA has been collecting the details of commercial deals in the Land of Brie for over a decade and sharing them with its allies. "The United States has been conducting economic espionage against France for …

  1. Ole Juul

    With friends like that

    Who needs enemies?

    1. PleebSmash
      Big Brother

      Re: With friends like that

      France needed Islamic enemies in order to pass new draconian surveillance bills this week...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: With friends like that

        Given the History of its colonies in North Africa, France has almost as many such enemies as the US.

  2. dorsetknob

    And this is news ?

    why the suprise ?

    everyone knows france is awash with Oil

    "thet dont say those oily frenchmen"for nothing

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel a slogan coming on...

    No nation has ever been bankrupted for buying Huawei.

  4. dan1980

    "That the agency was specifically tasked to go after the economic interests of an ally will cause red faces all round."

    It should cause resignations all around - specifically of everyone who had any part in authorising this.

    1. elDog

      Much more likely that all the perps will be rewarded handsomely. The head of the organization will be given some (worthless) medal of honor from the president-in-name-only and all the operatives will have nice offices at the Carlyle Group when they decide to stop pretending to work for the US government.

  5. beast666

    The day the Earth caught fire... Seriously!

    1. LaeMing

      Let it burn, I say.

      It's the only way to be sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't be so sure. Some things not only survive but get worse in a fire.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rainbow Warrior

    Considering that France committed an a terrorist act in New Zealand (an allied country) in 1985 for which the French Government didn't even apologize or keep two of the agents responsible locked up like they agreed, expecting their allies to not spy on them is a bit hypocritical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rainbow Warrior

      I'd hardly call doing anything (other than giving money) to greenpeace "a terrorist act."

    2. TheFinn

      Re: Rainbow Warrior

      Mmmm, and then there was all that talk of Libyan money financing...whatshisname, the last French president...financing his election campaign...

    3. Naich

      Re: Rainbow Warrior

      So the acts of the French secret service against an environmental group paves the way for the logical step of the US security agency spying on French companies in order to gain a financial advantage? Not sure I follow you there.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: Rainbow Warrior

        Non sequitur. In point of fact espionage is commonplace between allies and is only embarrassing to them when it is publicly known. For example, the French have long been a thorn in Germany's side for economic espionage. In addition, spying on allies to understand their motives and plans can prevent a lot of misunderstanding and promote harmony. As to the Rainbow Warrior, whatever I may think of Greenpeace (I think it is populated with people who avoid, e.g., the truth about our need for nuclear energy) what was done to them was despicable and an international crime. Espionage, well it is another matter and does not involve damage to shipping and the risk of harm is in the current context minimal.

        1. g e

          Re: Rainbow Warrior

        2. LucreLout

          Re: Rainbow Warrior

          For example, the French have long been a thorn in Germany's side for economic espionage.

          I think you'll find the French prefer to call that period Le Resistance.

          1. Scorchio!!

            Re: Rainbow Warrior

            "I think you'll find the French prefer to call that period Le Resistance."

            Your thoughts are not aligned with what I said; they have long been a thorn in the side of their current ally's (Germany's) side for economic espionage. This is nothing to do with resistance, it is current.

  7. Captain DaFt

    NSA! NS-oops... USA! USA!

    "The new release will be a massive embarrassment to the US government, since it has long maintained that the only reason the NSA exists is to spy on evildoers online – terrorists, organized crime, drug dealers, and the like."

    Why should they be embarrassed? The NSA is only ensuring that good, clean profits are making their way to wholesome, American companies instead of being siphoned of by those unsavory foreign companies that are probably using it to fund terrorist activities such as research and innovation, instead of decent, moral, endless litigation like God intended.

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Who authororized this?

    I'm not about to go to Wikileaks to read this... but who authorized it? And also authorized the "sharing"? Even the other media outlets only state it's the agreement between the "5 Eyes". Sounds to me like all 5 are in bed with each other and none of them like the French.

  9. Neoc

    Yo, USA!

    "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear", right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yo, USA!

      Well if that's true the US and France must be the two most fearless countries on earth.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes we admit it, we had a look, but... was all in this strange, non-American, language.

    The fellows down at Cipher should have it cracked pretty soon....

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Don't look here!

    Look over there -->




  12. iLuddite

    geopolitical exam

    The NSA does Not spy on which of the following?




    D) all of the above.

  13. Chronigan

    Notice how it doesn't say how the information was collected or list the deals that were damaged? For all we know they could of been compiling public sources of information, like the CIA world fact book. Everyone has an agenda, until I see actual proof about what was used to do what by who I will reserve judgement. I am no fan of the NSA's but neither am I a fan of Wikileaks.

  14. auburnman
    Black Helicopters

    Wonder if Assange is angling for asylum in France? From his viewpoint of the world it makes sense. Sneak out of the embassy dressed as a delivery guy or somesuch, then sneak on the Eurostar or more likely bribe someone with a small boat to cross the channel. Then jolly it up in a nice château, stirring it up occasionally to keep his name in the papers and everyone pissed off.

    Only question is, would France buy into the conspiracy theory that the charges against him have been orchestrated by America? And if they did, would they be willing to defy Sweden just to piss off the US?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Wonder if Assange is angling for asylum in France?

      That was my first thought.

      >would France buy into the conspiracy theory that the charges against him have been orchestrated by America?

      Oh yes, they love anti-US conspiracy theories, especially of they can tie the French far-right into them as well.

      > And if they did, would they be willing to defy Sweden just to piss off the US?

      Certainly not. They would immediately agree to extradite St Julian. Then they'd lose the paperwork, or wait until the Swedes supplied all the documents requested before noticing that there was one other that shoud have been provided. By which time the first documents will be more than 3 months old, so need to be replaced. And the extradition would have to take place via a designated border point which is currently inaccessible due to unavoidable emergency work, and where the guard is on 2 years of sick leave anyway.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        And 3 days later, you're both proved correct!

    2. vogon00

      He doesn't piss me off....I just think he's an unintelligible twat.

  15. itzman

    If you cant be gooid...

    Be careful.

    Of course everyone of note is spying on everyone else, of note.

    The cardinal sin is getting caught, doing it.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: If you cant be gooid...

      Furthermore everyone knows that everyone else is doing it. They adopt a number of tactics; feed tainted misinformation through a number of individuals, so they can trace the 'leak' and thus isolate the leaker; feed the leaker information that is representative of some truth sought by the watching organisation; feed the leaker/spy bogus information that suits the 'victim' country/organisation's purposes (to the disadvantage of the 'hostile' nation) and so on. Espionage is not what people think it is. Espionage if very frequently a process of bluff, or of reassurance, one which is frequently farked up by ignoramus fools like Assange who trample in the undergrowth.

      See also Register article entitled Les unsporting gits! French spies BUGGED Concorde passengers.

  16. Bernard M. Orwell

    TerrorPedos Away!

    "the NSA has been collecting the details of commercial deals"

    I'm so glad that the intelligence agencies, as they are intended to, are keeping us safe from the terrorpedos everyday....


  17. LucreLout

    Sorry Julian....

    .... but until you go and face your rape charges in Sweden, I'm not really very interested in what you have to say.

    Pointing out others (potential) wrong doing while deliberately and extensively evading your responsibilities to the courts of two nations is just too hypocritical. In short, la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you.

    1. DropBear

      Re: Sorry Julian....

      Sure, so he can get slapped with 17329 consecutive life sentences without parole for swatting a fly or somesuch, like a certain other (not particularly-) distinguished gentleman recently. Clearly, murdering some people would have been preferable for him - that way he'd be out in ten years, tops. One has to get one's priorities right after all, and there's hardly anything more important than making an example of any dissenter people might possibly be inclined to sympathize with - or worse, much worse: follow...

      1. LucreLout

        Re: Sorry Julian....@DropBear

        so he can get slapped with 17329 consecutive life sentences without parole

        Nope. The maximum tariff facing him in Sweden is 10 years, with a typical term of just 2-3 years.

        Nobody runs from Sweden to the UK if they're worried about extradition to the USA. Nobody. There is zero chance we'd refuse an extradition request for Assange, even before he broke our laws. They had 2 years between arresting Manning and Assange hopping on the couch, and no request was filed, so that categorically is not what he was fleeing.

        I realise this is a subject you get very emotive about, but his whole charade is just that. He isn't hiding from extradition to the USA, he is hiding from rape allegations in Sweden. He'll come back out in 2020 once he feels he's timed them out.

      2. Scorchio!!

        Re: Sorry Julian....

        "Sure, so he can get slapped with 17329 consecutive life sentences without parole for swatting a fly or somesuch"

        As a member of the EU the Swedish CJS has to comply with the European human rights court and standards. Accordingly this sort of claim is mere ash in the air. Furthermore, Assange cannot be extradited from Sweden by the US, nor from the UK, that's how EU laws are constructed. Assange can only stand trial for the crimes that he's alleged to have committed, and he cannot be sentenced for more than the appropriate period or amount, under Swedish law as governed by the EU. Your suppositions and reckonings are completely irrelevant.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry Julian....

          "As a member of the EU the Swedish CJS has to comply with the European human rights court and standards."

          Doesn't matter. What Assange fears is Extraordinary Rendition. In his mind, the moment Assange is packed to Sweden, American agents will be ready to pounce: most likely by staging an incident that takes him outside of EU control they can then drag him back to the US and "vanish" him. AND there will be no conclusive way to pin it on the Americans, who as a last resort can say, "Guess you don't want our help containing Russia anymore, hmm...?"

          And before they say the US lacks the guts, consider what they did to bag Manuel Noriega...

          PS. Wonder why there hasn't been a fire in that embassy yet? Otherwise find some way to physically force everyone out of the building while making it look like an accident.

    2. Christoph

      Re: Sorry Julian....

      ".... but until you go and face your rape charges in Sweden, I'm not really very interested in what you have to say."

      So it does work then? If a whistleblower releases inconvenient evidence, charge them with a crime, preferably embarrassing and sex-related, and everyone will ignore the evidence that they produced.

      It's been used lots and lots of times. I gather there are major holes in the evidence against Assange (though I don't personally have hard information either way).

      1. LucreLout

        Re: Sorry Julian....

        So it does work then?

        Not really. They can say whatever they like about Snowden, and they have, but nobody buys into that. His behaviour since his revelations has been, in my view, impeccable. It is a defining difference between Snowden and Assange.

        It is my sincere hope that he stays in Russia, because I simply don't believe he'd get a fair trial in the USA. With what has been said since, I just don't see how that could ever be possible. Any presidential pardon would have to come with a plan to keep him safe from the inevitable "patriots".

  18. John G Imrie

    The list

    that the only reason the NSA exists is to spy on evildoers online – terrorists, organized crime, drug dealers, and the like

    You missed cheese eating surrender monkeys from that list.

  19. Ralph B


    This sort of thing has been going on for the last 1000 years.

    I think Assange's barrel of leaks must be nearly empty.

  20. siriusus

    Embarrassing for France, too!

    It's not only an embarrassment to the US government, it's also quite an embarrassment to those Finance Ministers and the affected companies.

    Especially from today's point of view, when everyone's using apps like Threema to securely chat about totally mundane stuff.

  21. xyzw

    This is not a news

    USA using military spy on France (or other countries) to help their industry has been known for a long time. It was already the case with the Echelon program as far as I remember

    Quick google search gives you: "In 1994, the CIA and NSA intercepted phone calls between Brazilian officials and the French firm Thomson-CSF about a radar system that the Brazilians wanted to purchase. A US firm, Raytheon, was a competitor as well, and reports prepared from intercepts were forwarded to Raytheon""

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is not a news

      Wrong! Its only the complacency of those affected that's not News. As more and more of these reports come out, the NSA / GCHQ tag team can't keep claming that past abuses were isolated cases, and that the spying apparatus exists solely to catch T's.

      But to prove that, we need more mainstream media hard hitters willing to take public punches at our NSA string-pullers... But that's not going to happen as long as big media is so consolidated and built-upon the model of best serving corporate and government interests.

      1. xyzw

        Re: This is not a news

        @Anonymous Coward: Everybody knows your "friends" are spying on you for economic reasons.

        Everybody strives to have better tool than their "friends".

        When you lose, well, you swallow it up and move on.

        When you lose publicly (in the media), you are forced to declare your outrage, and eventually, you need to send to friend's ambassador back to his country (slap on the wrist are not allowed!), and then? ......................... Business as usual!

        What makes you think people were complacent? Trust me (well... you don't know me), they are not.

        You seem to mix two different things regarding the NSA spying involved:

        - the allegedly illegal one that allegedly happen on american citizen

        - the allegedly legal one that allegedly happen on non-american targets (for economic reasons or not)

        You might have a chance to get the NSA accountable on the former (and dream on, GCHQ :)), but as fast as the latter is concerned, I wish you luck as you will be opposed, with reason (which you will not know), some very powerful shields (like official secrets acts and equivalents).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surely the phrase in the 1st sentence: should be "in the Land of the Brie"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "NSA interception of every French company contract valued at more than $200 million"

    - If I have to listen to one more self-righteous prick from the NSA claim they only use the spying apparatus to catch T's… Why does no one from the mainstream media tackle these disingenuous fux?

    - The terrorists and the kingmaker spies are quite well paired. They're both fundamentalists who believe in their own twisted bibles to the point of utter self-deception...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patriot Act - American Operating systems

    How can any big business continue to use american owned operating systems after this revelation?

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