FRANCE'S secret service has become an "information agency at the Elysee's service" with an unchecked special operations department to spy on rivals, agents are quoted as claiming in a new book.
When President Nicolas Sarkozy merged the DST, France's counter-espionage service, with les Renseignements Generaux (RG), its domestic intelligence unit, he promised the new entity would put a stop to its predecessors' alleged habit of spying on anyone considered a potential threat to the establishment.
Mr Sarkozy said he had for too long been the personal victim of illicit prying and smear tactics from party rivals, instead promising a "respectable republic" whose leaders would no longer misuse intelligence services. But 'The President's Spy' claims the reverse has happened; the new 4,000-man "French FBI" -- the DCRI -- has become a "tool devoted to serving a camp and its interests", namely those of Mr Sarkozy.
Anonymous intelligence officials are quoted as saying they have had enough of being at the president's beck and call. "I have lost all my illusions," one counter-terrorism agent is quoted as complaining.
Bernard "the Shark" Squarcini, the DCRI's Corsican boss, is described by the book's three journalist authors as one of the president's so-called "Sarkoboys, ready to do anything to defend him".
Mr Squarcini denied the book's "insulting" claims, saying, "I am nobody's spy". (© Daily Telegraph, London)