Christopher Dickey writes: It was the dog that didn’t bark in the night, and its bite may be less impressive still. As a tale of hacking and political subversion unfolded in France on Friday and Saturday, it looked like a re-run of the American experience. But there are some critical differences.
In the last hours before midnight on Friday, just before a campaigning blackout imposed by French electoral law in anticipation of the crucial vote on Sunday, somebody dumped nine gigabytes of emails and documents supposedly purloined from the campaign of leading presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
It looked like, and almost certainly was, a last-minute bid to tip the scales in favor of the centrist Macron’s opponent, the nativist, populist Marine Le Pen, who has received more-than-tacit endorsements from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who received her at the Kremlin, and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared his appreciation of her as the “strongest” candidate.
Macron, by contrast, is favored by those who want a strong European Union, a strong NATO, and a France looking to the future rather than clinging to the fearful and fictional nostalgia promulgated by Le Pen.
As the news broke, suspicion focused on the same “Fancy Bear” Russian hackers who fiddled with the American presidential campaign last year. As The Daily Beast reported 10 days earlier, they have been working hard for the election of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-European Union, anti-euro, anti-NATO, anti-American, Pro-Trump Le Pen.
Literally at the 11th hour, before the blackout would silence it, the Macron campaign issued a statement saying it had been hacked and many of the documents that were dumped on the American 4Chan site and re-posted by Wikileaks were fakes.
The mainstream French media carried the Macron campaign statement, but virtually nothing else. In addition to the normal proscription of campaign “propaganda” on election eve, the government issued a statement saying specifically that anyone disseminating the materials in this dump in France could be liable to prosecution, and calling on the media to shoulder their “responsibility” by steering clear of them. [Continue reading…]