PARIS – President Emmanuel Macron's former security advisor, who caused an outcry after a video, showed how he defeated a demonstrator who accepted a "big mistake" in participating in the police-rigged demonstration, but as a politically designated mistake directed against the French leader.
Authorities have filed a lawsuit against Alexandre Benalla, who was fired last week, and his office was raided on Wednesday. The newspaper Le Monde published the interview on Thursday with Benalla, who had shaved his beard to be less recognizable.
Macron's office was criticized for not revealing the allegations and the way they were treated. The French leader said Tuesday at a private rally of his centrist party that he alone was responsible. He did not publicly speak with MPs during a week on televised parliamentary sessions, but when he was pushed by journalists on Wednesday, he downplayed the uproar over Benalla's actions.
"He made a real, serious mistake that I considered a personal betrayal He was punished for this mistake and then resumed his job, and when he made a second mistake he was punished harder than expected," Macron said , "Everybody makes mistakes, the reaction has to be proportional."
The French parliament has opened a series of investigations into Benalla's role within the Macron administration and his request to carry firearms. The 26-year-old claimed he had chosen the location where Macron formally claimed the presidency – the Louvre Palace – and said his job was to take care of Macron's private life. He can be seen in dozens of photos, on Macron's side or directly behind him.
"I do not feel like I have told the President that I have the feeling that I made a big mistake in making a mistake," Benalla said. "But this mistake, it's more from a political point of view: I should never have gone as an observer to this protest, and then maybe I should have stayed behind."
Benalla said it was a means to hurt him by length characters. "I'm the weak link," he said.
Benalla had considered himself an important part of Macron's details and criticized his official security, the equivalent of American intelligence. "They're not involved in the organization at all, they just handle safety," he told Le Monde.
Earlier this week the Parisian police chief Michel Delpuech denounced what he called "unhealthy nepotism" to plainly explain Benalla's vacillate within France's security apparatus. However, both the Home Secretary and the Chief of Police said that on the night of May 1, Benalla was among the 40 people present in the command room who were watching video screens of the police cleanup of the protests.