The ex-chief of intelligence backpedals on a “mole” of the Russians

The former director of the foreign intelligence service (DGSE) Bernard Bajolet returned on Monday to his remarks broadcast this Sunday evening in a documentary, where he seemed to confirm the existence of a “mole” in the service of the Russians within the cabinet of the French Minister of Defense in 2017.

Asked for the France 5 channel by journalist Caroline Roux on the case of “a” mole “who had joined the very cabinet of Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian”, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Bajolet responds in this documentary devoted to Russian President Vladimir Poutine: “Indeed, when I was director general of external security, I had made go up” to the executive.

No confirmation

“In previous years we said ‘all that is over, after the Cold War, we no longer have to waste our time against spies who no longer exist (…) the priority is terrorism cases’, but for all that, it is clear that the espionage activities had not ceased at all, ”he continues. In a letter sent on Monday, Bernard Bajolet assures us that he “never wanted to react to an individual case or to mention a particular cabinet, but wanted to underline the intensity of the espionage activities carried out against our country by powers. foreigners, including Russia, and the importance of the counter-intelligence function entrusted to the intelligence services ”.

“In no case can my answer be considered as a confirmation of the reality of the allegations made by Caroline Roux on the presence of a foreign agent in the office of a minister at the time,” he said. . “At no time has the Le Drian cabinet been put in difficulty”, for its part reacted Monday morning the minister’s office, where we say “very surprised by the statements of a former DGSE who knows that this typology business is classified ”.

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“Basically, the French counter-espionage (a skill that the DGSE does not have) works remarkably and knows how to thwart the attempts of foreign powers who would like to approach places of power”, comments the cabinet of Jean-Yves Le Drian. . This case was mentioned at the time by the press. According to the French online media Mediapart, a spy of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, had recruited a “mole” within the cabinet of Jean-Yves Le Drian when he was Minister of Defense under the presidency of Francois Hollande.

Fight against interference

These kinds of approaches occur at regular intervals. In 2018, Le Canard Enchaîné claimed that a woman suspected of working for Israeli intelligence, Mossad, had been identified by French services after approaching several senior French officials.

Last week, Prime Minister Jean Castex sent a circular to his ministers asking them to “strengthen the framework for actions of foreign influence or interference which are exercised in a discreet, even occult manner, with elected officials and officials. French public decision-makers ”, recalling that“ the fight against interference (…) is one of the government’s priorities ”.

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