French campaign watchdog examines election-eve Macron leak

French campaign watchdog examines election-eve Macron leak

PARIS — France’s election campaign watchdog is investigating a hacking attack and document leak targeting presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron that his political movement calls a last-ditch bid to disrupt Sunday’s tense runoff vote.

Fears of hacking and campaign interference have simmered throughout France’s high-stakes, closely watched campaign — and boiled over Friday night as Macron’s team said it had been the victim of a “massive and co-ordinated” hack.

His political movement said the unidentified hackers accessed staffers’ personal and professional emails and leaked campaign finance material and contracts — as well as fake decoy documents — online.

The perpetrators remain unknown. While the hack is shaking up the already head spinning campaign, it’s unclear whether the document dump would dent Macron’s large poll lead over far-right Marine Le Pen going into the vote.

After ditching France’s traditional left-right parties in a first-round election, voters are now choosing between Macron’s business-friendly, pro-European vision and Le Pen’s protectionist, closed-borders view that resonates with workers left behind by globalization. The future of the European Union may hinge on the vote, also seen as a test for global populism.

Voting begins in France’s overseas territories Saturday before moving to the mainland Sunday, amid a nationwide blackout on campaigning and media coverage seen as swaying voters’ views. The leak began just before the blackout descended at midnight, in theatrical timing fitting for the dramatic campaign.

Someone on 4chan — a site known for, among other things, cruel hoaxes and political extremism — posted links to a large set of data which the poster claimed had come from Macron’s campaign. Macron’s campaign swiftly confirmed it had been hacked some weeks ago, and that at least some of the documents were genuine.

Slamming the hack as an effort to “seed doubt and disinformation” and destabilize the vote, Macron’s movement En Marche said it would “take all measures” to shed light on what happened. It recalled similar leaks from Hillary Clinton’s U.S. presidential campaign, which also said that authentic documents were mixed with false ones.

The No. 2 in Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Front party, Florian Philippot, asked in a tweet, “will the #Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism deliberately buried?”

The commission overseeing the French campaign said in a statement that it is holding a meeting early Saturday after being informed of the hack and leak.

The voting watchdog also called on the Interior Ministry late Friday to look into claims by the Le Pen campaign that ballot papers are being tampered with nationwide to benefit Macron. The Le Pen campaign said electoral administrators in several regions who receive ballot papers for both candidates have found the Le Pen ballot “systematically torn up.”

The presidential campaign has been unusually bitter, with voters hurling eggs and flour, protesters clashing with police and candidates insulting each other on national television — a reflection of the widespread public disaffection with politics.

Le Pen, 48, has brought her far-right National Front party, once a pariah for its racism and anti-Semitism, closer than ever to the French presidency, seizing on working-class voters’ growing frustration with globalization and immigration. Even if she loses, she is likely to be a powerful opposition figure in French politics in the upcoming parliamentary election campaign.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Le Pen said that win or lose, “we changed everything.” She claimed an “ideological victory” and said she could still pull of a surprise win on Sunday.

The 39-year-old Macron also helped upend France’s traditional political structure with his wild-card campaign outside standard parties.

Many voters, however, don’t like either Le Pen or Macron. They fear her party’s racist past, while worrying that his platform would demolish worker job protections or be too much like his mentor, the deeply unpopular outgoing President Francois Hollande.

Angela Charlton And Raphael Satter, The Associated Press

Just Posted

$900,000 grant paves way for affordable housing in Trail

Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society receives funding by BC Housing for new build in Trail

Trail police release image of liquor store robber

The video surveillance image shows the robber aiming a black gun at the store’s clerk

More snow called for the Kootenays

Environment Canada issued the bulletin Tuesday under its “BC Traveller’s Routes forecast”

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Provincial housing boss brought home more than $350,000 in 2017-18

BC Housing develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options

Prince Charles turns 70 with party, new family photos

Charles is due to have tea on Wednesday with a group of people who are also turning 70 this year

Calgarians vote ‘no’ to bidding for 2026 Winter Games, in plebiscite

Out of 767,734 eligible voters, 304,774 voted and 171,750 said ”no.”

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Most Read