The secrecy of sources questioned? The journalist Ariane Lavrilleux, at the origin of revelations at the end of 2021 on a possible Egyptian hijacking of a French intelligence operation in the country, was searched and placed in custody on Tuesday, September 19, announced the media Disclose, which published its article at the time.

"Search underway at the home of Disclose journalist Ariane Lavrilleux. Police officers from the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI) took our journalist into custody. A new inadmissible attack on the confidentiality of sources, "denounced on X the investigative media Disclose.

🚨 Search in progress at the home of the journalist from @Disclose_ngo, @AriaLavrilleux. Police officers from the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI) took our journalist into custody.

A new unacceptable attack on the confidentiality of sources ⤵

— Disclose (@Disclose_ngo) September 19, 2023

A source close to the case confirmed to AFP that an investigating judge was currently conducting these operations, "given his status as a journalist".

These take place as part of a judicial investigation ongoing since July 2022, opened by the Paris prosecutor's office for compromising the secrecy of the National Defense and disclosures of the identity of soldiers and entrusted to the DGSI, confirmed this source.

"I am appalled and concerned by the escalation in attacks on the freedom to inform, and the coercive measures taken against the journalist of Disclose," responded Me Virginie Marquet, lawyer of Ariane Lavrilleux and the investigative media.

"Unacceptable interference with freedom to inform"

"This search risks seriously undermining the confidentiality of journalists' sources, which I can legitimately fear has been totally flouted since this (Tuesday) morning. Disclose will protect its journalist who has only revealed information of public interest," she added.

Many media and journalists, including several Societies of Journalists (SDJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), have expressed their indignation on the social network, evoking an "unacceptable obstacle to the freedom to inform" and a "denial of democracy" a few weeks before the States General of Information promised by the Elysee.

#France🇫🇷: RSF condemns the detention of the @AriaLavrilleux journalist and the search of her home and computer equipment for compromising national defence secrets. We are concerned that the DGSI's actions may undermine the confidentiality of sources.

— RSF (@RSF_inter) September 19, 2023

Disclose claimed in an article published in November 2021 that the French intelligence mission "Sirli", started in February 2016 for the benefit of Egypt in the name of the fight against terrorism, had been hijacked by the Egyptian state, which used the information collected to carry out airstrikes on suspected smugglers' vehicles on the Egyptian-Libyan border.

According to documents obtained by Disclose, "French forces were involved in at least 19 bombings against civilians between 2016 and 2018" in this area. Despite the concerns and warnings of some officials about the excesses of the operation, the French authorities would not have questioned the mission, according to Disclose, citing secret documents.

Following this publication, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces had filed a complaint for "violation of the secrecy of national defense". A preliminary investigation was opened in November 2021 before an investigating judge was appointed in the summer of 2022.

With AFP

The summary of the weekFrance 24 invites you to look back on the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news with you everywhere! Download the France 24 app