SHARE
COPY LINK

OFFBEAT

Clumsy French spy sends text message to the radical Islamist he was keeping tabs on

A member of the French intelligence services has landed himself in hot water after sending a text message containing information on a radical Islamist he was spying on, to the target himself.

Clumsy French spy sends text message to the radical Islamist he was keeping tabs on
Photo: AFP

Anyone who has accidently sent a text message to the wrong person might have some sympathy with a member of the French intelligent services who landed himself in trouble with his bosses this week.

The man, who works for the central territorial intelligence services (SCRT) had been keeping tabs on a suspected Islamist extremist.

He wanted to send a text containing important intelligence on his target to a colleague.

But the spy got all his phone numbers mixed up and accidentally sent it to the very suspect he had been closely monitoring.

The “target” was reportedly quick to respond to the message, reminding the spy of how incompetent he had been. And to make matters worse he was able to warn those he had been contact with that they too were probably being listened to.

The gaffe angered those at France's main internal intelligence services the DGSI who were also spying on the suspect.

The man under surveillance was suspected of preaching an extremist version of Islam in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France.

French media who picked up the story this week, described it as a “monumental blunder” as they asked the question: “How could this have happened?”

Perhaps it would not have been so serious if France had not been on high alert for further terror attacks after being targeted by jihadists in recent years.

The DGSI was forced to end their investigation into the suspect.

RUSSIA

Senior French officer held on suspicion of spying for Russia

A senior French military officer stationed at a NATO base has been indicted and jailed on suspicion of spying for Russia, local media and sources said on Sunday.

Senior French officer held on suspicion of spying for Russia
A change of command ceremony at the base of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in Sigonella, Italy. It is not known at which Italian Nato base the officer was stationed. Photo: Falk Plankenhorn
The French army officer was stationed abroad, a judicial source said confirming details from Europe 1 radio. According to the report, the soldier was stationed on a NATO base in Italy and is suspected of espionage on behalf of Russia.
   
The French government confirmed it was investigating a senior military officer over a “security breach”.
   
“What I can confirm is that a senior officer is facing legal proceedings for a security breach,” Defence Minister Florence Parly told Europe 1 radio, CNews and Les Echos newspaper. She gave no further details.
   
The judicial source said the officer had been indicted and jailed on charges involving “intelligence with a foreign power that undermines the fundamental interests of the nation”.
   
He is being prosecuted for “delivering information to a foreign power”, “collecting information harming the fundamental interests of the nation with a view to delivering them to a foreign power” and “compromising the secrecy of national defence”, the source said.
 
   
Europe 1 said the officer was a lieutenant-colonel stationed with NATO in Italy and had been placed under investigation on suspicion of spying for Russia.
   
He speaks Russian and was seen in Italy with a man identified as an agent of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence
service, the report said. It said he is suspected of having supplied sensitive documents to Russian intelligence.
   
The man was arrested by DGSI intelligence service as he was about to leave for Italy at the end of his holidays in France, and is being held at a prison in Paris, Europe 1 said.
SHOW COMMENTS