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France has established a special school for economic espionage that trains students to target U.S. technology and information.

The French newspaper Liberation reported last week the Economic War School, known as EGE, is training spies to collect the information.

The school has been training economic intelligence gathering for the past eight years in Paris. It was set up by the Defense Consultancy International, a semi-public company linked to the French Defense Ministry.

The school employs intermediaries for case studies in such areas as “destabilizing the salmon market” or opening the energy sector to competitors. French academics, journalists, retired military and intelligence officials work for the school.

“We do not break windows to get a file or follow someone to find out if he is a homosexual. It is clean intelligence,” one student told the newspaper.

“If we taught [people] how to follow someone, plant listening devices or go through trash cans, then we would be a spy school,” said Christian Harbulot, the school’s director. “This is not taught here. However, we explain to the students that searching trash cans is common practice in economic espionage and that we have to pay attention to the papers that we throw out. On the other hand, manipulating information and destabilizing a business leader’s private life is banned here.”

Harbulot said the United States is the main target. “There is China but the United States is the top priority,” Harbulot said. “There is true industrial competition and there are many fields where we have everything to lose. We cannot let ourselves be pushed around. A huge number of companies have disappeared because they were bought out or destroyed by the Americans. We have to protect ourselves.”

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