Friday, December 9, 2011

Sarkozy, the Police, and DSK

What did Sarkozy know about DSK's sexual habits? More than I did, no doubt, but even I had heard rumors before the arrest about clubs échangistes, soirées libertines, compromising photos, etc. And it seems that quite a few Socialists--including some, like the mayor of Sarcelles François Pupponi, who protested that the "Dominique" they knew could never have been involved in anything as sordid as the Sofitel affair--knew that the police knew, because Julien Dray had met with Bernard Squarcini, the head of les Renseignements Intérieurs, who had explicitly told him, and Dray allegedly informed Pupponi. And the omnipresent publicity consultancy Euro RSCG, now advising Hollande, seems to have been a key player in the contacts between DSK and Sarkozy's "Mr. Security," Alain Bauer (who eventually relayed the news of DSK's arrest from the Sofitel security chief to Sarkozy):
En mars, Dominique Strauss-Kahn a donné rendez-vous au Pavillon de la Reine, place des Vosges à Paris, à Alain Bauer.
Il est un intime de trente ans de Stéphane Fouks, le patron d'Euro RSCG. Il a participé, en 2007, à la réunion organisée par l'agence autour de Dominique Strauss-Kahn, avant son départ au Fonds monétaire international (FMI). Puis aux réunions de crise, en 2008, après sa liaison avec l'économiste hongroise, Piroska Nagy.
Alain Bauer est aussi devenu le "Monsieur Sécurité" très écouté du président de la République. Qu'importe. C'est lui que DSK veut interroger sur la fiabilité de son téléphone. "On me dit que les Blackberry ne sont pas sûrs ?" "Pas fiables du tout !, lui confirme Alain Bauer. Si tu veux être en sécurité, tu dois mettre une puce cryptée ici", explique-t-il en retournant le téléphone du patron du FMI, qui écoute et remercie.
All of this makes one wonder how DSK could ever have thought of running for president (he knew what they had on him) and how he could have behaved so recklessly even knowing what was bound to come out in the campaign. It's all quite revealing about the mores of la classe politique. Sarkozy knew, the PS knew, journalists knew, policemen knew, everyone who was anyone apparently knew that DSK was, in Sarkozy's words, "un obsédé sexuel." And yet the president pushed him for the IMF job, the PS would have nominated him as its candidate, and ... well, the possibilities are too grotesque to contemplate: un Parc aux cerfs moderne à l'Elysée among them. Perhaps the French could use some of that puritanism they're always mistakenly seeing in Americans.


FrédéricLN said...

"everyone who was anyone apparently knew"

oh, even me, and I'm noone, knew that de source sûre.

Some people, not many, would not vote for Mr Strauss-Kahn for this reason

But being "un obsédé sexuel" is not a crime. While pushing a country to bankruptcy might be considered as a crime — at least in a broad meaning of the word.

Cincinna said...

Not unique to France.
How could someone with so many skeletons in the closet thunk if running for President? Remember John Edwards?

MCG said...

They didn't run for president, but remember Bernard Kerik? Remember Eliot Spitzer? These men's close friends wink at their conduct, so they think everyone else will, too.

MCG said...

And since everyone who knows about it seems to wink at their conduct, no one will ever expose it.


Cincinna said...

  I think there is an enormous difference between sleazy political hacks and a potential President of France or the US.  Those like  Spitzer, Kerik, McGreevy, Jack Lang, Charles Pasqua, and now former NJ Governor & Senator Jon Corzine, do hard to the country, and  bring disgrace upon themselves & their families, but not upon an entire Nation. 
 Lest we not forget l'affaire Robert Boulin, the "suicide" of another PM, Pierre  
Bérégovoy, the Nazi  Collaborationist former Minister Maurice Papon . 
   But the man who conned all the French people was François Mitterrand, who ran for President concealing his Vichy connections and friends, concealed the fact he had been diagnosed and treated for the prostate cancer that killed him shortly after he left office. He led a double life with a wife, mistress, and two families, all kept secret from the people. 
  Add to that his not so secret involvement in the 
1985 Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by the French DGSE intelligence agency. 

  The time to find out about these things is before an election, not after. 
That is why the vetting process is increasingly important in today's political world. 

  France dodged a bullet that would have destroyed it when DSK was exposed (sic) at the Sofitel. 
  Imagine the chaos, political turmoil, possible blackmail, not to mention the anger of the voters had DSK or John Edwards been elected. 

  How would JFK have fared in today's world, with his undisclosed fatal illness, Addison's disease, constant treatments with amphetamines, and his notorious risky personal behavior. And yes, everyone knew. Journalists knew, colleagues knew, and they all protected him. Because he was an amiable guy whom they all liked, not to mention the Old Boy's Club Code of Honor.
  Thank God DSK is not likable, and it turns out nobody really liked him at all. 
   I'm an optimistic person, but I know all men are human, with human frailties. Let's just hope we find out before it's too late. 

Louis said...

I had ideological reasons to like DSK's candidacy as of winter-spring 2011. Then I had a few conversations with peoples who either played rugby with him at the PUC (Paris Université Club) or followed his carreer in the 1970s-1980s. After these conversations the idea of voting for DSK felt really unpalatable.

Politics is a very archaic activity, and I would vote for an asshole if I knew his or her intentions for the nation corresponded to my views or interests and his personnal traits did not overall constitute an impediment for the function. "Libertinage" between consenting adults is not a crime, neither is hiding one's adulterian daughter from the public eye or sending some of the free opera seats you get with your function to a friend.
But there is of course a fine line to be walked, and it is obvious DSK went over it time and time again. It is very much because of both cultural mores and the workings of elite circles in France that he was never held accountable for that until the Sofitel affair.
And, after the spring of 2011, there is also a political context: the Left would not shoot itself in the foot denoucing one of its own guys, and the right kept it all under wraps for the presidential campaign.
As for the French media, their behavior has been for most of them absolutely ignominious. Talk about wiping your rear with the Munich Ethics Chart...

MCG said...

ERRATUM. The New York Review of Books has posted an erratum notice regarding Edward Jay Epstein's account of what DSK did at the Sofitel and afterwards (below). Epstein made two Sofitel employees' videotaped "dance of celebration" the linchpin of his case for conspiracy, saying it lasted three minutes. The NYRB now says in fact it lasted only 13 seconds.

I had earlier pointed out in comments here that Epstein's treatment of the facts was not meticulous, since he pasted over the impossibility of the same New York police officers learning in midtown that DSK was at JFK and then arriving at JFK in time to take DSK off the Air France jet--in fact it was the Port Authority police who took DSK off the plane.

Here is the correction in the NYRB:

[NYRB] "Editors’ note: The article entitled 'What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn,' by Edward Jay Epstein, which appeared in our December 22, 2011, issue, contained a description of what 'looked like' a 'dance of celebration' by two employees of the Hotel Sofitel in New York City at approximately 1:35 PM on the day that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in connection with an alleged sexual assault. Security camera recordings have established that the episode, as described, lasted approximately thirteen seconds, not the three minutes mentioned in the article."

Cincinna said...

@Louis & Frédéric
It may not be a crime, but these are not acceptable qualities or lifestyles for a Head of State.

Such out if control risky behavior, lack of impulse control, and being open to blackmail & worse make a man like that a liability.

It takes lots of time & arranging to be an "orgy kind of guy" as per Seinfeld.

In the end character counts.

FrédéricLN said...

Cincinna "In the end character counts." I fully agree! You can't fool all the people all the time.