The servers for the campaign of Emmanuel Macron, the centrist, pro-European Union candidate in this weekend’s French presidential election, has been hacked, and its emails and other documents released online.
The hack of his En Marche campaign is being called “massive,” and according to Reuters:
Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or if any of them were genuine. In a statement, Macron’s political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked.
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” En Marche! said in a statement.
The cyber attack is eerily similar to the Russian-coordinated Wikileaks dump of hacked emails from the Democratic Party servers in the run-up to the 2016. There’s even a #Macronleaks hashtag zipping across social media from suspect user accounts, much like the ‘Bot’ attack the Russians launched on U.S. social media.
Putin had a clear favorite in the U.S. presidential election, and he’s made his bet in Sunday’s French election as well. Spoiler alert – it’s not the pro-Europe centrist.
Macron is running against Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-European Union, anti-immigrant Front Nationale party originally founded by her fascist, holocaust denying father Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Front National is also anti-NATO and unabashedly pro-Russian. Marine Le Pen even took a very public trip to Moscow to meet with Putin and accept his endorsement in March of this year, and according to the Financial Times, the Kremlin is actively supporting her campaign – even with money:
Ahead of Sunday’s run-off in France, there has been speculation about the extent of Mr Putin’s influence. In Wednesday’s debate, Mr Macron accused Ms Le Pen of being “subject to the diktats of Mr Putin”.
Over the past several years, the Russian leader and the far-right politician, who share a similar nationalist outlook, have developed close ties. These links have been cemented by complex financial arrangements and overwhelmingly positive coverage of Ms Le Pen in the Russian state-backed media.
French authorities have yet to officially blame Russia for this specific hack, but intelligence agencies have been tracking the Kremlin’s cyber attacks on the French election for months.
We’ll know Sunday if the Kremlin’s tactics achieve the same result for Putin’s pick in the French election as they did for Donald Trump, his pick in the U.S. election. Macron enjoys a comfortable 62% to 38% lead in the polls on the eve of the election, but as Americans know all too well, polls aren’t guarantees.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.