Hacking Allied Leader’s Computers Just Means We Luv Them Very Much…

According to reports from the French press, the Obama administration used the US-Israeli “Flame” malware to hack into the computers of senior French officials last year, giving them unprecedented access to the Palais de l’Élysée network.

US officials have denied the accusations.

“We categorically deny the allegations by unnamed sources that the U.S. government participated in a cyber attack against the French government,” Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler told The Hill in a statement. “France is one of our strongest allies.

“Our outstanding cooperation in intelligence sharing, law enforcement, and cyber defense has never been stronger, and remains essential in successfully combating the common threat of extremism,” Chandler added.

And pushed back against the notion in French reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano reportedly did not deny the allegations when asked point-blank about them – officials say she dismissed them as “preposterous” but simply wasn’t quoted as saying so.

Then again:

In the interview, Napolitano also said that the Flame and Stuxnet viruses had “never been linked to the U.S. government.”

Which is a lot like some officials denying there’s a drone program while other officials are talking up how successful it is.

Poor Nile Gardiner, the neocon revisionist historian who has a crush on Margaret Thatcher, has his fee-fees hurt because the Obama administration officials said France was a special ally, none better. What about Canada, Israel and, he sobs, Britain? They’re all more special than those cheese-eating surrender monkeys! Nile would be better off wondering if the US has unleashed Flame on those special allies too, rather than getting all two-year-old about politicians’ “diplomatic’ rhetoric.

I can’t be the only one wondering how the US would react if one of its ostensible allies hacked the White House. Somehow, I doubt it would be pretty. America’s exceptional hubris and exceptionalist thinking means it’s OK for the US to do it, though. After all, no-one’s going to stop it doing what the hell it wants.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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  • It wasn’t last year, it was this year. A bit before Flame got bounced in public.

    I would be cautious on this. This seems pretty out there (this would be using a tier 1 weapon on a lower tier target) and my reading of the prime mover article is that it doesn’t say that it was Flame, but rather that it had the same capabilities.

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