Ever since his lawyer has admitted earlier this week the actual existence of the tapes made by Patrick Buisson during meetings held under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, all the media, in unison, have only been talking about the « bugging» case of the Elysée Palace.
And the use of the word «bugging» stood out as an evidence for everyone.
But the act of tapping the extracts of conversations held at a meeting one is attending, without other participants knowing, has nothing to do with covert bugging practice. Covert tapping in the ordinary and criminal sense corresponds to the willingness to follow a conversation one is not part of. It necessarily involves the idea of a remote capture, by a third party.
In 1973, the famous plumbers of the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné were caught trying to install a spy microphone in the directorial office of Le Canard to listen to the discussions held there from outside. They were not physically attending editorial conferences. And similar examples abound.
The fact that Patrick Buisson has recorded the extracts of conversations held during meetings he was attending belongs with his personal relationships both with Nicolas Sarkozy and other participants to such meetings. It is rather a banal and private matter of trust between the former President and his advisor than a political scandal. The former has to draw the relevant consequences, but there is clearly no point in making this a political matter and persisting with what the media would have us believe.
Except if these new tapes are reporting facts or behaviours that are in breach of law or morality, but to date it’s not the case. Richard Nixon was forced to resign in August 1974, not because he recorded conversations held between him and his closer advisers without their knowledge, but because of what these tapes revealed about his involvement in the Watergate case and his attempts to cover it up.
The clash of words should not mislead as to their meaning, or cause us to forget it.