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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Minister Said Spy

PARIS () -- Bulgarian secret services told France four years ago that the late Socialist ex-defense minister Charles Hernu had been a communist agent early in his career, a French former spymaster said Wednesday.

Jacques Fournet, then chief of DST counter-intelligence, told France 3 television he could not check the report, but passed it on to then president Francois Mitterrand.

He said Mitterrand decided to classify the report as secret, since Hernu, who served as defense minister from 1981 to 1985, had died in 1990 and could not defend himself from the charges.

"DST was not able to verify what was in this report. ... We can regard this file as somewhat suspicious," Fournet said.

The weekly L'Express earlier quoted secret files as showing that Hernu, a friend of Mitterrand's, had spied for the Soviet Union and other communist countries in the 1950s and 1960s.