Economic Espionage in France

Materials arranged chronologically.

Whitney, Craig R. "France Accuses 5 Americans of Spying; Asks They Leave." New York Times, 23 Feb. 1995, A1, A4 (N).

"France has accused five Americans, including the former C.I.A. station chief [in Paris] and his deputy, of political and economic espionage and asked them to leave.... The other Americans ... asked to leave were two other C.I.A. agents who are listed in diplomatic jobs on the roster of the United States Embassy, and a woman working as an undercover C.I.A. agent who lacks diplomatic status."

Drozdiak, William. "C'est What?" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 6-12 Mar. 1995, 16.

One of the factors behind the public accusations of espionage by the French government against five Americans may have been French concern about the recent successful use of U.S. intelligence to thwart French bribes and other shady business practices in international commerce.

Clark comment: It seems clear from this report that the French opted for some reason to mount a full-scale counterintelligence operation against an American female operative and her contacts with a French government official.

Stanglin, Douglas. "French Affairs." U.S. News & World Report, 13 Mar. 1995, 21-22.

This article suggests that slipshod operations may have been partially at fault for the flap in France over CIA intelligence collection operations. It points to a report of a female nonofficial cover officer who had previously displayed bad judgment and been demoted.

Pincus, Walter. "A Fly on a Foreign Wall Might Help the Bottom Line: Should the CIA Leak Intelligence to U.S. Firms?" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 13-19 Mar. 1995, 32.

Quoting "present and former intelligence officials," Pincus says that the recent spying flap in France "is part of the agency's clandestine economic intelligence gathering in friendly countries that has been going on for years.... Now, though, key members of Congress [including Senators Spector of Pennsylvania and Kerrey of Nebraska] have been trying to get the CIA to share with U.S. corporations the economic and commercial intelligence it has gathered."

Singer, Daniel. "The Spying Game." Nation, 20 Mar. 1995, 367-368.

Editorial on flap in France over CIA intelligence collection activities. The Interior Minister's rhetoric is not aimed at the United States, but rather at diverting attention from the scandal involving Prime Minister Edouard Balladur when the latter's presidential race is losing steam.

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Confirms Blunders During Economic Spying on France." New York Times, 13 Mar. 1996, A8 (N).

A classified report by the CIA's Inspector General has concluded that Paris Station blundered in its espionage effort directed against French trade negotiations and economic targets. The IG report faults Paris Station Chief Dick Holm for not keeping the Ambassador fully informed and for allowing an affair between a Nonofficial Cover officer and her French lover to continue. Europe Division Chief Joe DeTrani "has been placed in administrative limbo."

Vistica, Gregory L., and Evan Thomas. "The Man Who Spied Too Long: The Inside Story of How a Cold-War Hero Became a Fall Guy for a Troubled CIA." Newsweek, 29 Apr. 1996, 26, 31.

This is an up-dated version of the events preceding and following the French expulsion of CIA officers in January 1995. The focus is on the destruction of Chief of Station Dick Holm by three outsiders to the world of espionage -- DCI Deutsch, DDO Cohen, and IG Hitz.

Clark comment: I cannot avoid a comment on the human side of this French-manufactured artificial flap: I first met Dick Holm in the late 1980s as a visiting fireman in his then-Station area. As an outsider to the Directorate of Operations, I know nothing of his espionage or management skills, but I do know some of the legends and the very real personal courage and integrity of the man. His treatment by his superiors does not do them honor.

See Richard Holm, "A Close Call in Africa," Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000): 17-28; CIRA Newsletter 25, no. 1 (Spring 2000), 36-41, in which the author tells of the circumstances surrounding his frightful injuries in a plane crash in the Congo in 1965. See also, Loeb, Washington Post, 15 May 2000, who uses the publication of Ted Gup's Book of Honor (2000) to tell the story of Holm's crash, recovery, subsequent career, and frightful treatment at the end of his career by then DCI Deutch.

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