A Strange Story
In mid-October Le Figaro reported a rather strange spy story. At the end of this past March, on the eve of Sarkozy's presidential victories, a mysterious email was sent to major French security and public officials. According to this anonymous email (marked with the DGSE logo), the Israeli government directed the Mossad to infiltrate the French Gaullist Party in the late 1970s, dispatching Rafi Eitan, who had made his name capturing Adolf Eichman and would later be involved in the Jonathan Pollard affair, to lead the operation. What's more, the email claimed that several politicians were recruited, including Patrick Balkany, Patrick Devedjian, Pierre Lellouche, Manuel Aeschlimann, and yes, a young Nicolas Sarkozy.
Obviously such an inflammatory email, sent in such a politically sensitive climate, was not going to be ignored; Le Figaro adds that the Direction centrale de la police judiciaire was immediately charged with investigating the email's origin. As of the this report, the letter had been traced to a cybercafe in Val-d'Oise, but from there the investigation had run into a brick wall.
A Strange Aftermath
So who fabricated this remarkable conspiracy theory? Le Figaro quotes a Interior Ministry official as saying that it smells like the dirty work of the far-right. As far as I know, no other newsworthy articles have actually been written about it, so information remains limited.
However, this small article, lost amidst the tumult of the daily news, has taken on an internet life of its own. Search "Sarkozy Mossad Agent" on Google and you get 132,000 results. TheSpoof.com even wrote an article in which Sarkozy admits it all to be true:
"Oui, my heart belongs to Israel, and Mossad has asked me to sell out France to Zionist interests which I am doing. They have ordered me to agitate for an unjust Iran war and to suck up to America."But there is a more sinister side. Iran's Press TV picked up on the incident, reporting it as truth, and nicknaming him "Sarko the Sayan" (Sayinm are foreign Jews who volunteer to help Israeli intelligence). Before Sarkozy's speech to the US Congress, CSPAN was running a call in show with Le Figaro's Washington correspondent, and a somewhat inappropriate caller even asked on-air about the article; the Le Figaro journalist had not even heard about his own paper's report.
Even more, one of Egypt's largest papers, Al-Ahram, ran an editorial that not only reported the allegations as truth, but claimed that "Such talk sends chills down spines, especially Arab and Muslim ones. Indeed, the revelation did not go unnoticed in Arab capitals..."
The motivations of the original author of this email may have been purely political, wanting to smear Sarkozy with a fabricated scandal just weeks before Le Pen's grand defeat. If, however, such a story gains legs in a conspiracy fertile Middle East, mixed with Sarkozy's support for Israel, this could only inflame anti-French sentiment in the Muslim world, and possibly even at home. Then again, maybe that's just what the author had in mind.