Somewhere in the midst of 2012....the US government gave orders to the CIA to send folks off to view and report back on the French Presidential election. Wikileaks has the messages. It's a seven-page thing....which just gives a detailed instruction to use X, Y and Z capabilities.
The necessity for this? Well....you are in the middle of the Obama period, and Hillary Clinton was still the Secretary of State. You can imagine some meeting occurring where Hillary says to so-and-so....I heard the French election is coming up, and so-and-so knew basically nothing about the election, or the party platforms. Rather than look bad....that so-and-so then passes off requirements to some guy....who writes up some requirement letters to the CIA.
The CIA receives these and gets all happy because now there is a requirement which means travel in exotic France. So Agent X and Agent Y pack up some bags, and they likely spend weeks driving around France....sipping wine....talking to reporters....attending some speeches by the political folks, and writing up some assessment every week or two.
Did Obama or Hillary ever read the assessments? I would have my doubts about that. Maybe they did, but the odds are that they had some guy read them, and then make a nice 3x5 card up....maybe three or four of these cards....to just give them the big stuff out of the whole package.
The sad thing here is that any idiot with a laptop could have gone and done open-source viewing of the political parties, the speeches made, and written a 300-page book over the four-month long primary and election period in France. By the time, these CIA guys got finished.....between their salary and trip cost.....they probably spent in the neighborhood of $150,000. Me? I would have probably done the 300-page book for $2,000. Course, I'm not the CIA and I might have been a bit more cynical or sarcastic than the boss at the CIA would have preferred. I probably wouldn't have dined on $120 plates of snails and peanut sauce either. A two-Euro beer and some Clafoutis (sweet-filled breakfast treat) would have been enough for me.
The French looking at this? They have to ask....why the heck any idiot would come over and waste weeks and weeks listening to some whiny French political geek....mostly making fakes promises, and then reporting all the strategy and fake promises back to VIPs within the US government?
But this brings us to this odd question....did the French secret service (DGSE) send over some French spies to monitor the Trump-Clinton election? Maybe? But the odds were that they simply landed in some urbanized area like New York City and spent most of the 'mad-money' that the boss gave them....on hot-dogs and Pepsi.
Were the secret service folks from Denmark, Italy, and Russia also in the US....monitoring the Trump-Clinton election as well?
Maybe it's just me....but I'm mostly amused by this whole thing and why any of it matters. I mean....you could turn on France-24 (the news network in English) and get most of the stuff you need to know....on a nightly basis. You could do from your garage in Houston, and not even spend a day in France.
Just my humble two cents.