Three journalists were questioned by DGSI on suspicion of breaching national security secrets

On December 14, three journalists who were the authors of the 2018 investigation into suspected influence in the French military were heard at the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) on suspicion of breaching defense secrets. Each hearing lasted an hour and a half and was held at the premises of the DGSI in Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine).

In 2018, Benoît Collombat and Geoffrey Livolsi revealed the existence of an investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor (PNF) into suspicions of influence peddling in the military. Soon, the former employee of the special forces, whose name appeared in the investigation, filed a complaint, and the court investigation began. It was in this context that they interviewed Jacques Monin, director of inquiries and investigations at Radio France, which published the revelations.

After issuing a statement explaining that the information they disclosed was in the public interest and involved public money, they defended their right to remain silent, citing Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the protection of sources, Geoffrey Livolsi said. “Except when they are on a mission to inform the public on a matter of public interest, they are litigants like anyone else.”said his lawyer Mr.e Virginia Market.

Read: Questions raised at the call of the DGSI of journalists

Suspicions of favoritism

Their investigation, published on France Inter and on the Internet program “Secrets d’info”, revealed that the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) is investigating suspicions of collusion in air transport subcontracting contracts with the military.

“This is not a prosecution of a prosecutor or the Department of Defense, but of an individual who believes that the anonymity he should be using because of defense secrecy is being ignored.”recalled M.e Basile Ader assisting journalists from Radio France. “We have never endangered a member of the special forces who intervened on the ground, and we have never singled out the special forces.”Jacques Monin announced.

And to continue: “We are continuing this investigation [journalistique] served public interests. [L’]investigation [du PNF] flourished and expanded into crimes of corruption and illegal usury. » That investigation is now complete and the PNF has sent the defendants the crimes they intend to hold, a court source confirmed.

In a briefing with Agence France Presse, the financial prosecutor’s office plans to prosecute the ten people and the company International Chartering Systems (ICS, specialized in chartering and transport organization) in the criminal court. Offenses held against individuals are, in particular, neglect during the conclusion or execution of contracts, embezzlement of state funds or active and passive corruption, illegal interest charges for acts committed between 2010-2018.

Among the defendants are employees of the Ministry of Defense, including the commander and chief of staff of the Center for Operation and Route Support (CSOA) during the incidents. The former chief of staff is also suspected of violating professional secrecy and taking illegal interest. The president and chief administrative officer of ICS is also concerned.

Lawyers should send their observations to the PNF, which will decide on the continuation of the procedure.

Freedom to voice concerns

Summoning journalists to DGSI has raised concerns about journalists’ freedom of information. These are the last ones “must be able to protect his classified sources, work freely and report information on matters of national defense and security”In a press release on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has asked the DGSI to withdraw from the hearing.

“Privacy protection should not be used to cover up illegal behavior and attacks on the public interest,” In a press release signed by a number of human rights associations, Nadège Buquet, co-chair of the Chamber of Whistleblowers, reacted.

Read also Disturbing subpoena by a journalist from Le Monde for articles on the Benalla case

The world with AFP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *