US lawmaker calls on Trump to ‘forcefully’ react to hacking of French presidential candidate

 

View of the electoral ballot box at the Lycée Franco-Mexican in Mexico City on May 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
View of the electoral ballot box at the Lycée Franco-Mexican in Mexico City on May 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Democratic lawmaker has called on US President Donald Trump to “forcefully” respond to the cyber attack that targeted the campaign of leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

“This attack on French democracy is a threat to all of us, and our way of life,” Congressman Adam Smith of Washington State and the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee said in statement on Saturday.

He further added that the president “must not downplay, ignore, or encourage such an assault.”

The development came after Macron’s campaign officials reported a “massive and coordinated hacking attack,” following the release of what they described as the campaign’s internal documents just ahead of the French presidential election due to be held on Sunday.

According to local press reports, nearly nine gigabytes of data were posted Friday evening on a profile called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a site that allows anonymous document sharing.

This AFP combination of pictures made on April 23, 2017 shows French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron (L) and French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen posing in Paris. 

However, it was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or whether any of the information was genuine.

In his statement, Smith also warned that if the US does not challenge the effort to “undermine representative democracy around the world” it would lose “much of what we value and what we have sacrificed for as a nation.”

Other Democratic lawmakers have also censured the release of the documents targeting centrist French candidate Macron, who is running against ultra-right candidate Marine Le Pen in a closely-watched election.

California Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, further weighed in on reports that hackers had leaked a mixture of fake and real documents, calling it a “nightmare scenario.”

Meanwhile, the French government called on the media and internet users in the country to avoid covering or republishing the material before Sunday’s election, and has stated that the online information appears to include fake documents.

France is the latest nation to see a major election overshadow by allegations of manipulation through cyber hacking.

In January, US intelligence agencies accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering the hacking of parties linked to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a bid to influence the polls on behalf of her Republican rival, Trump.

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