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Radicalization: 16 members of French intelligence excluded since 2014

In question, according to Matignon, is the possible radicalization of the 16 people concerned, or that of those around them.

Published: January 24, 2020, 9:03 am

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    Sixteen members of the intelligence services were “dismissed” because of “their potential radicalization or that of those around them,” according to the Hôtel de Matignon, reported RTL. Intelligence operatives are responsible, in particular, for monitoring the potential jihadists who find themselves on French territory.

    The conclusions came in the wake of two missions entrusted to the Inspectorate of Intelligence Services (ISR) following the attack on the Paris police headquarters, which occurred on October 3. On that day, Mickaël Harpon, a computer scientist from the Intelligence Directorate, stabbed several of his colleagues, killing four, before being shot himself.

    Seven police officers had been “disarmed” after the terrorist attack, said the Paris police chief, Didier Lallement, and “33 reports” were made on suspicion of radicalization. The prefect had asked for “three suspensions”, of which only “one” had succeeded.

    In the intelligence sphere, however, no member has been excluded since the killing at the prefecture, said Matignon on Tuesday.

    In addition, according to French dailyLe Parisien, a report commissioned by Matignon from the Intelligence Service Inspectorate reported on the adequate level of tools and processes available to identify the vulnerabilities of French agents, even if they need “improvement, because they are diverse” the newspaper noted. Among the measures recommended, was the strengthening of secret defense clearance procedures or an increase in standards in recruitment.

    In Épinal in a anti-terror operation meanwhile, law enforcement officials feared the presence of explosives in a downtown building.

    In the Vosges, on Thursday January 23 in the morning, police from the city station and the RAID – an elite tactical unit of the French National Police – form Nancy intervened in a building in the city center.

    The intervention was authorized by a judge of the Paris judicial court in connection with antiterrorism, according to a report from LCI who had interviewed the public prosecutor in Épinal, Nicolas Heitz.

    The suspect, a Moroccan national, was born in 1971, a source close to the file told French website 20 Minutes. According to the site, the suspect’s wife was arrested at the location and taken into police custody.

    Residents were confined to their homes while children kept in a school during the operation. At around 1 p.m., the police finally arrested the individual in another sector of Épinal. The individual, listed on the notorious S file, was placed in police custody.

    According to BFM TV, which relied on a source close to the file, he “is known for its proximity to radical Islamist circles” and the intervention was carried out “against a background” of terrorism, according to a police source.

    The anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office (PNAT) was informed after the discovery of explosive devices.

    “The open investigation started this morning by the Epinal public prosecutor’s office was taken up by the PNAT for the following reasons: criminal terrorist criminal association, possession and manufacture of explosive devices in connection with a terrorist enterprise. The investigations were entrusted to the SDAT (anti-terrorist sub-direction) of the DCPJ (Central Directorate of the Judicial Police), the DIPJ (Interregional Directorate of the Judicial Police) of Strasbourg and the DGSI (General Directorate of Internal Security),” the PNAT stated.

    According to regional daily Vosges Matin, the police operation was carried out “following weak [sic] signals from territorial intelligence suggesting the possible presence of a person in a building on the street who may be part of the Islamist movement”.

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