The French newspaper Le Monde has revealed that the Mossad sought to recruit French intelligence personnel as double agents for Israel.
The paper quoted from an internal report it said it had obtained from French intelligence sources, which alleged that Mossad operatives had attempted to exploit a working relationship between France and Israel to “to the point of crossing the line of turning them into double agents,” providing secret information to Israel.
The attempted penetration of French intelligence took place during a joint operation in 2010 to collect information about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical warfare plans. The operation, code-named Ratafia, aimed to recruit a senior Syrian engineer, who would travel to France for advanced chemistry studies and to help recruit other engineers.
The French agents were responsible for the Paris side of the scheme, while the Israeli agents handled matters in Syria.
However, French counterintelligence spotted one of the French agents conducting unauthorized contacts with the Israelis, and mysterious deposits were made in the bank accounts of French agents involved in the Ratafia operation.
The internal report calls for further investigation to ascertain what damage may have been done to the French intelligence services.