• France's news in English
France needs intelligence overhaul after attacks: inquiry
Photo: AFP

France needs intelligence overhaul after attacks: inquiry

The Local · 5 Jul 2016, 08:42

Published: 05 Jul 2016 08:42 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A parliamentary inquiry set up following the Paris terror attacks of November 13th made its conclusions public on Tuesday.

After 200 hours of hearings and 190 interviews, the inquiry, which was aimed at trying to work out just how the attacks of November and January, which left 147 dead, were able to take place, finally published its conclusions on Tuesday.

In all lawmakers made 39 recommendations for how France can best avoid another devastating terror attack in the future - firstly by calling for an overhaul of the country's intelligence services.

Intelligence bosses had admitted to the inquiry that the two attacks represented a "global intelligence failure".

"Facing the threat of international terrorism, we need to be far more ambitious than we currently are in terms of intelligence," the inquiry's leader Georges Fenech said, before recommending a national counter-terrorism agency be set up.

“We have seen during our trips abroad that neither the head of the Israeli, Greek or American intelligence services were able to identify their French counterpart in charge of counter-terrorism,” said Fenech.

The agency would have a central database based on the American model Tide (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment).

'Our country was not ready'

“I am wholly behind the proposition to create a national counter-terrorism agency,” he said. “It would be directly attached to the head of state and would have a common database for all those bodies involved in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

 "Our country was not ready, now we must get ready," he told AFP.

France has numerous intelligence services with the police, the gendarmes military police, the army  and the internal intelligence services the DGSI all playing a role.

Fenech, an MP with Les Republicains party pointed to the case of Charlie Hebdo gunman Said Kouachi to highlight the problems in French intelligence services.

Kouachi like many of those involved in the terror attacks was known to French intelligence services. He was placed under watch by authorities in Paris, but when he left the capital it was the job of the country's internal intelligence services the DGSI, to take over.

They ended their surveillance six months before Kouahci launched a bloody attack on Charlie Hebdo with his brother Cherif.

"We can see that the absence of the continuation of one single intelligence service can have grave consequences," said Fenech.

The MP also concluded that those intelligence services operating in the country’s prisons need to up their game.

'Limited impact from state of emergency'

The cross-party inquiry also concluded that France's ongoing state of emergency, which was imposed on the night of the Paris attacks, had limited impact on security.

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has insisted the state of emergency, which saw thousands of homes raided and hundreds placed under house arrest, was necessary.

But rights groups denounced the draconian measures and now the inquiry believes it has done little to improve security in France.

"The state of emergency has had an effect, but it seems to have quickly diminished," said Socialist MP Sébastien Pietrasanta, who authored the inquiry’s concluding report.

Story continues below…

The inquiry also questioned the benefits of Operation Sentinelle, which was put into action after the January 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket.

The operation has seen thousands of soldiers deployed to protect schools, synagogues, department stores and other high risk sites like transport hubs.

"Eighteen months after the start of operation Sentinelle, which has involved 10,000 men including 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers, I question the real added value in providing security in the country," Pietrasanta said.

Pietrasanta believed the attack on the Bataclan could not have been avoided, despite the theatre being subject to previous terror threats.

Do we need three different SWAT units?

Pietrasanta said that the intervention of security forces on the night of November 13 -- when a team of Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers struck bars, restaurants, the national stadium and Bataclan concert hall, killing 130
--  had been "fast, effective and showed they were capable of working together."

However, he questioned the merits of having three different specialised units, the paramilitary intervention group GIGN, the police unit RAID and another elite police force specialising in hostage situations, the BRI.


Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available