French inquiry calls for overhaul of intelligence after Paris attacks

Authorities acknowledge failures found by report into attacks. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Authorities acknowledge failures found by report into attacks. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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A French parliamentary investigation has found multiple intelligence failures before Islamic extremist attacks that killed 147 people in Paris last year.

The inquiry is urging the creation of a US-style counter-terrorism agency.

Conservative politician Georges Fenech, who headed the investigation commission, said all the attackers involved in the 2015 violence had been known to authorities.

Some had previous convictions or were under judicialsurveillance.

Mr Fenech said intelligence authorities questioned in the inquiry acknowledged failures. He recommended a national counter-terrorism agency like that created in the US after the 9/11 attacks.

The French parliament has also recommended better European intelligence co-operation.

The attacks targeted a kosher supermarket, the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper, the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France national stadium, and cafés and restaurants.

Mr Fenech said he blamed a multi-layered, cumbersome intelligence apparatus, adding that France is trying to fight terrorism with “lead boots”.

Socialist Sébastien Pietrasanta, who presented the report, noted that the attack that killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida, showed that “there is no zero-risk,” and said France remains under threat even if it overhauls its intelligence services.

The parliamentary report is based on six months of interviews with nearly 200 people and visits to Turkey, Greece, Belgium and the Europol police agency
headquarters in The Hague.

It was aimed at studying what happened before, after and during the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket, which killed 17
people, and the November attacks on the Bataclan, stadium and cafés, which killed 130.

The inquiry also found failures in European security co-ordination and communication.

Mr Pietrasanta said “Europe is not up to the task” of fighting terrorism.

The parliamentarians also criticised security measures put in place after the attacks as ineffective.

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