Paris Investigates Leak Of Egypt’s Reported Misuse Of French Intelligence

Earlier this week, France’s Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, called for an investigation following reports that French intelligence that was originally intended to track jihadist militants, was used by Egypt to kill civilians and target smugglers on the Libyan border. The investigative website Disclose revealed classified documents that detailed 19 bombings targeting civilians that had taken place from the years 2016 to 2018 and were linked to French intelligence given to Cairo.

The intelligence was provided to Egypt by a team of four French soldiers and six ex-military personnel who were sent to Egypt back in 2016 on a mission codenamed Operation Sirli. Leading up to the inception of the mission, the French military had been running surveillance flights over Libya where Islamic State fighters were active, and their influence was becoming a cause for concern.

“Egypt is a partner of France with which – as with many other countries – we maintain relations in the field of intelligence and the fight against terrorism,” the French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement. “In addition, the Minister of the Armed Forces has demanded that an investigation be launched into the information disseminated by Disclose,” it said. No further details on the initiation of the probe were shared.

More documents from Disclose revealed that an Egyptian officer who accompanied the intelligence team was charged with eavesdropping on conversations. Additionally, the intelligence team was said to have quickly realized the threat of terrorism was very minimal in that region and that their information was being used to target smugglers.

Lastly, according to Reuters, a Disclose-published note addressed to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly before a visit to Egypt, shared that there were “proven cases of destruction of targets detected by French aircraft” and that it was “important to remind Egypt that reconnaissance planes were not a targeting tool.”