The Surveillance Disclose website, which specializes in exposing scandals of the French armies, continued to publish leaks related to military-intelligence relations between Paris and Cairo.
This time, the website revealed that a massive cyber surveillance system set up by three French companies with the approval of the French authorities helped the Egyptian regime in “the unprecedented acts of repression of society, as the regime arrests nearly 65,000 people, and causes 3,000 others to disappear after their arrest.”
The site indicated that the three companies are “NexaTechnologies”, “Ercom-Suneris”, a subsidiary of Thales, and the third is “Dassault Systèmes”, the technological branch of the French heavyweight arms manufacturer and manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft. .
The site indicated that its investigation, carried out in partnership with Telerama magazine, revealed that the three technology companies met in 2014 around a project to monitor populations outside normal borders.
Nexa Technologies was responsible for installing an internet monitoring program called Cerebro, and Ichrome Snrise was responsible for creating a phone-tapping and geolocation device called Cortex vortex.
The last piece of this massive espionage build was a super-powerful search engine called Exalead made by Dassault System that enabled different databases to be linked together on behalf of the Egyptian regime’s mysterious Military Intelligence (MID) service.
UAE pays the bill
The website added that “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi relied on two important allies, the UAE and France,” noting that the former put about $168 million on the table in 2013 to provide Sisi with the missing ingredient in his repressive arsenal, which is digital espionage.
According to the website, the UAE has hired a subsidiary of Etimad, the main Emirati company in the field of cyber defense. (And it was this partner that would give French electronic surveillance access to the heart of power, the Egyptian Ministry of Defense.”
The company that the UAE has leased is the French SME, a company with a huge advantage. Since 2012 it has had a trading arm called Advanced Middle East Systems based in the UAE.
This was created with the greatest transparency of information with French services, as confirms Nixa Technologies.
On March 24, 2014, the company’s directors, Stéphane Salles and Olivier Bohbot, won a contract worth about $13 million to install its flagship software (Ceripro) in Cairo.
According to a confidential document obtained by Disclose, the software is said to be able to “analyze data to understand suspects’ relationships and behavior, and go back in time to find relevant information in billions of recorded conversations.”
And in the summer of 2014, ICCROM CEO Pierre Mayoul Bedier signed a contract worth about $17 million to spy on phones across the Nile. The Egyptian military was primarily concerned with one feature: geolocation of its targets in real time using Cortex Vortex software (it’s like a spy movie).
A former engineer at ICCROM explained that the program enables the geolocation of any person by “triangulating” the location of the base stations to which his phone is connected, even without making any calls.
Dassault Systems participated in the project as the owner of Exaled, the super powerful search engine.
The group, it seems, were ideal partners to “centralize” the millions of information collected by French companies and the Egyptian regime, to create the digital database of Egyptian ID cards and passports available to them.
To ensure that the Egyptian authorities did their job perfectly, the Egyptian authorities did not skimp on providing equipment and tools: completely new data centers, the latest generation of Dell computers, and “huge servers” from the American company DDN.
In Alexandria, the army also had electronic components installed on submarine cables connecting the country to the Internet for better monitoring. As for the command center of the future “Egyptian National Security Apparatus”, its headquarters is located in Cairo, at the Almaza military base, 10 kilometers from the presidential palace.
State approved authorization
And in the fall of 2014, it was Ercom-Suneris’ turn to demand state approval for the export of the wiretapping system: it took on a “appropriate” stamp.
The management of Nexa Technologies stated that since 2017, the French justice system has opened a judicial investigation against Nexa and its management for “complicity in acts of torture and enforced disappearance” in Egypt and Libya.
On October 12, she was charged with “complicity in torture and enforced disappearance in Egypt between 2014 and 2021.”
On 17 June, Stéphane Salles and Olivier Bohbot were indicted. As for Dassault and ICCROM, to date, they have chosen a strategy of silence.
In the same context, the French Ministry of Defense announced today, Thursday, that it had filed a complaint on Wednesday regarding a “violation of national defense secrecy” after leaking documents about France providing intelligence information to Egypt as part of an anti-terror operation, and Cairo used it to target smugglers at the border with Libya.
And the “Disclose” website revealed that the French intelligence mission “Cirly”, which began in February 2016, was derailed by the Egyptian state, which used the information to launch air strikes against smugglers and not to combat jihadists, as the mission states.
“The Ministry of the Armed Forces has taken legal measures after this massive leak of classified documents,” Defense Ministry spokesman Herve Granjan said during a press conference, without specifying the target of the complaint.
He continued, “There was a leak of documents covered by the secret of national defense. This leak is a violation of the law (…) is very dangerous, because what can be revealed may reveal things about the methods of the army’s work, and could endanger the security of the persons involved.”