partlycloudy
Wednesday May 24th, 2017 3:31PM

French watchdog: Macron data mixed in with fake news in leak

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PARIS (AP) — France's election campaign commission said Saturday "a significant amount of data" has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign.

The attack came 36 hours before the nation votes Sunday in a crucial presidential runoff between Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Voting already began Saturday in France's overseas territories and embassies abroad.

The election commission met early Saturday after reports of the hacking attack emerged just before midnight Friday, when a mandatory pause in campaigning is required.

The commission said the leaked data apparently came from Macron's "information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers." It said the leaked data had been "fraudulently" obtained and that fake news has probably been mingled in with it.

The commission urged French media and citizens "not to relay" the leaked documents "in order not to alter the sincerity of the vote." French electoral laws impose a news blackout Saturday and most of Sunday on any campaigning and media coverage seen as swaying the election.

The perpetrators of the hacking attack remain unknown and it's unclear whether the document dump would dent Macron's large poll lead over Le Pen going into the 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 coordinated" hack.

It said the unidentified hackers accessed staffers' personal and professional emails and leaked campaign finance material and contracts — as well as fake decoy documents — online.

In a cursory look at the leaked documents, they appear to be largely mundane day-to-day communications, with a few items so out of character that they might be fakes. Other documents, which seem to date back several years, don't appear related to the campaign at all.

The Macron team's announcement about the hacking attack came just 10 days after the campaign's digital chief, Mounir Mahjoubi, said it had been targeted by Russia-linked hackers — but that those hacking attempts had all been thwarted.

Mahjoubi did not respond to requests for comment amid the campaign blackout Saturday.

Florian Philippot, the No. 2 in Le Pen's anti-immigrant National Front party, asked in a tweet: "Will the #Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism deliberately buried?"

Meanwhile voting for France's next president started in some overseas territories Saturday.

The first French territory to vote was Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, an archipelago located near Newfoundland. Shortly afterward, voting also started in French Guiana and the French West Indies.

Early voting in overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean and some French embassies abroad will begin later Saturday.

The 44-hour legal blackout on campaigning began Friday at midnight and is due to last until Sunday at 8.00 p.m. when the last polling stations close on the mainland and the first pollsters' projections and official partial results are expected.

After ditching France's traditional left-right main political 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.

Someone on 4chan — a site known, among other things, for cruel hoaxes and political extremism — posted links to a large set of data. 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 presidential 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.

In other voting issues, the French voting watchdog called on the Interior Ministry late Friday to look into claims by the Le Pen campaign of tampering with ballot papers in a way that favors Macron. The Le Pen campaign said administrators in several regions who receive ballot papers for both candidates have found the Le Pen ballots "systematically torn up."

The French presidential campaign has been unusually bitter, with voters hurling eggs and flour, protesters clashing with police and the candidates insulting each other on national television — a reflection of the deep divisions and 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 the upcoming parliamentary election campaign.

"We changed everything," win or lose, Le Pen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.

The 39-year-old Macron, a former economy minister and investment banker who has never held elected office, 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 job protections for workers. Students in several Paris schools protested Friday against both the candidates.

___

Angela Charlton contributed to the report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Bettors putting money on underdog Le Pen
V The betting firm Ladbrokes says far-right Marine Le Pen is attracting 90 percent of the bets on the eve of the French presidential election, as people gamble that France be in line for an upset.
10:59AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Hamas says Ismail Haniyeh chosen as Islamic group's leader
Hamas is confirming that its former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has been chosen as the Islamic militant group's political chief
10:58AM ( 14 minutes ago )
French watchdog: Macron data mixed in with fake news in leak
France's election campaign commission says "a significant amount of data" from the campaign of centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack
10:46AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: French watchdog: Some hacked Macron data is fake
Voting in the French presidential runoff has begun in France's overseas territories amid a nationwide blackout on campaigning and media coverage that could sway voters' views.
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
85-year-old aiming to be oldest Everest climber dies
Officials say an 85-year-old Nepali has died while attempting to scale Mount Everest to regain his title as the oldest person to climb the world's highest peak.
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Police officer free on bond in teen's suburban Dallas death
Now-fired Texas police officer free on bond in shooting death of teen who was leaving party
9:53AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Liberal son of war refugees projected to win S. Korea vote
Liberal son of North Korean refugees projected to win South Korean presidency
4:08AM ( 7 hours ago )
Fraternity, 18 members charged in Penn State student's death
A now-shuttered Penn State fraternity and 18 of its members are facing criminal charges in the death of a pledge who was injured in a fall during an alcohol-fueled party
3:54AM ( 7 hours ago )
Prosecutors dropping 2 teens' charges in school rape case
Prosecutors are dropping charges against two teens accused of raping a fellow student in a high school bathroom in the suburbs of Washington
2:29AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
In long-feared twist, online leak rattles French campaign
Pundits and journalists long worried over the possibility that a strategically timed leak could destabilize France's election
9:04PM ( 14 hours ago )
Wisconsin-based atheist group sues Trump over church order
A Wisconsin-based atheist group has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to strike down President Donald Trump's order aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting religious organizations' political activity
8:47PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: France's election commission studies hack attack
France's election campaign commission is examining a hacking attack on candidate Emmanuel Macron's political movement
7:57PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: France's Macron sticks to his centrist platform
French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says he didn't bow to multiple calls to change his political positions opportunistically to appeal to a broader base of voters following the first round of voting.
3:21PM ( 19 hours ago )
Senate asks Trump associates for details on Russian contacts
A Senate committee investigating Moscow's interference in last year's election has asked at least 4 of President Donald Trump's associates to turn over information about possible contacts with Russian officials or businessmen
3:02PM ( 20 hours ago )
Senate asks Page for documents on his contacts with Russia
One of President Donald Trump's former foreign policy advisers says a Senate committee investigating Moscow's interference in the election wants him to turn over information about contacts he or any other campaign associate had with Russians
1:15PM ( 21 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Thousands of people fill arena to hear from Warren Buffett
Listening to Warren Buffett never gets old to the thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders filling an arena to listen to the billionaire investor at the company's annual meeting
9:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
Asian development lender takes stock as US policy shifts
The Asian Development Bank's leaders say spending should concentrate on high-quality projects to promote development that make technology available to all as the region stretches to make up for a shortfall in needed investment
2:46AM ( 8 hours ago )
Manfred: MLB considers guidelines for racist taunts
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says all 30 teams are being surveyed as they consider instituting league-wide guidelines for handling fans who make racist remarks like those at Fenway Park earlier this week
10:38PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Business
A polished Le Pen maintains gritty image in French vote
Months of campaigning for the presidency in France have polished the image of Marine Le Pen, but she has not lost the gritty, populist edge that speaks to the common man and the passion for her far-right cause
9:30AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: German minister says 'project of peace' at stake
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says the future of the European "project of peace" is at stake in France's presidential election.
8:01AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Hollande-Merkel farewell meeting set for Monday
The German government says outgoing French President Francois Hollande will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday, a day after his successor is elected. Hollande's term ends on May 14.
7:52AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
The Latest: Bettors putting money on underdog Le Pen
V The betting firm Ladbrokes says far-right Marine Le Pen is attracting 90 percent of the bets on the eve of the French presidential election, as people gamble that France be in line for an upset.
10:59AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Hamas says Ismail Haniyeh chosen as Islamic group's leader
Hamas is confirming that its former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has been chosen as the Islamic militant group's political chief
10:58AM ( 14 minutes ago )
NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week
NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week
10:45AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Protections for 27 national monuments may be curtailed, cut
The Interior Department has identified 27 national monuments _ mostly in the West _ that may face the rolling back or elimination of protections put in place over the past two decades by presidents from both parties.
10:35AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Switzerland wastes lead before beating Slovenia in shootout
Switzerland threw away a 4-0 lead before scraping past Slovenia 5-4 in a shootout at the ice hockey world championships on Saturday
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )