Mr Sarkozy accused of spying French journalists

by Alessandro Brunelli

Sarkozy, left, with head of intelligence Squarcini, right.

In an article published on today’s issue, the French satirical weekly “Le Canard Enchainé” accused President Nicolas Sarkozy of personally spying journalists whose investigations are considered “troublesome for him or his entourage”.

The leader, written by the Editor In Chief Claude Angeli, went into further details to describe how Sarkozy personally delegated Bernard Squarcini, the chief of DCRI, the Central Directorate Of Interior Intelligence, to keep the suspects under surveillance.

For the same purpose, a group composed of senior officials of the French Intelligence Services has been monitoring mobile and landline calls of the spied journalists.

The weekly went on to explain how even people close the government have previously come clean about the “bad habits” of Sarkozy’s men: Henri Guaino, a personal adviser of the president, is said to have revealed to a few diplomats how journalists are normally being targeted and followed.

Angeli also added further evidence to its investigation by explaining how “a good number (of Canard’s writers) have been summoned to the DCRI headquarters in order to obtain more information about their sources”.

The Elysée promptly labeled the accusations as “crazy”, explaining how the DCRI “doesn’t follow journalists, but only, occasionally, their sources. […] When news leak at a high level, in a ministerial cabinet, it is its duty to investigate.”

Sarkozy’s troubled relation with the press doesn’t cease to cause concern, as Le Canard’s accusations follow this spring’s dispute between Le Monde, a daily newspaper, and the government.

On that occasion, Le Monde accused the French executive of spying some of its journalists in order to identify their informers in the scandal Woerth-Bettencourt, which involved some of the government’s MPs.

Allegedly, the DCRI office has also run investigations over the summer to find the sources of gossip about the extramarital affairs of the Mr. Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, the French First Lady.

Following Le Canard’s article, the French Socialist Party asked for Bernard Squarcini to be summoned for a hearing in front of the Law Commission of the National Assembly, while the Green Party proposed the creation of an independent commission in order to investigate over this case.