French spy-tech firm confirms 2007 deal with Kadhafi

1st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A subsidiary of the French technology firm Bull said Thursday it supplied Moamer Kadhafi's regime with "analysis equipment," but noted the deal was made only after Libya had improved ties with the West.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Amesys, which specialises in high-tech security systems and was re-acquired by Bull in 2010, had helped Kadhafi's now fallen regime of spying on its opponents.

The US daily accused Amesys of equiping Tripoli with its 'Eagle' system, which notably allowed the dictatorship to monitor Libya's internet network and conduct email surveillance.

Amesys acknowleged signing a contact with Kadhafi's regime in 2007 that "related to the provision of analysis equipment for a small part of the (country's) existing internet connections."

But, the company clarified that deal did not include technology that could monitor online traffic routed through satellites, public internet cafes or popular communication sites like Skype.

The company further assured that it did not help Tripoli listen in on mobile phones, fixed-line communication or screen websites.

"Amesys did not operate any telephone or internet surveillance centre anywhere on the globe," the company said.

The deal was only struck after Libya had improved its standing with respect to West, according to the company.

Kadhafi's regime, which last week was routed from its capital by the National Transitional Council, was for years treated as a villain by the US and Europe, but reached out to the West after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The agreement was signed "in the context of international diplomatic rapprochement with Libya which supported the international fight against terrorism and crimes committed by Al Qaeda."

"Amesys has always favoured expanding in geographic areas where France or Europe has strategic partners," the company statement also said.

© 2011 AFP

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