A set of WikiLeaks documents reveal that the CIA enlisted Canada as one of several countries to help them hack the 2012 French presidential election.
According to three CIA tasking orders released on Thursday, the Central Intelligence Agency requested that French president Francois Hollande, former president Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen all be “closely monitored,” as part of an attempt by the U.S. government to influence the outcome of the election.
CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, and the Department of Global Affairs did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Ashley Lemire, senior communications advisor at the Department of National Defence, told the National Post: “The Government of Canada does not comment on leaked documents.”
These revelations come amidst claims by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The orders are all marked “NOFORN”, meaning they are supposed to be restricted to U.S. eyes only so no potential allies are offended. Leaked documents showing Canadian spying on allies have caused significant diplomatic issues before.
In 2013, documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the Communications Security Establishment Canada spied on Brazil’s mining and energy ministry in an attempt to gain economic intelligence. At the time, NDP leader Tom Mulcair said the revelations gave Canada “a black eye in the world.”
Economic intelligence was also a focus of the spying during France’s 2012 election. Agents were asked to answer questions about non-ruling political parties and candidates including:
“What are their opinions on the German model of export-led growth?” A 2012 document, marked “SECRET”, that Wiklieaks previously released, tasks U.S. intelligence with compiling information on brewing export deals or export contracts in France worth $200 million or more.
In addition to Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Australia are all listed under a section indicating which countries are assisting with the “HUMINT” or human intelligence aspect of the operation. Those four countries, along with the United States, make up the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance.