Cablegate: Gof Proposes New Domestic C/T Policies After

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 04 PARIS 3771

1. (SBU) Summary and comment: In the aftermath of the July 7
and 21 bombings in London and the July 22 bombings in Sharm
el-Sheikh, the GOF has proposed a number of new policies to
combat terrorism, including the expanded use of
closed-circuit television cameras in public areas, renewed
efforts to expel radical imams, the inclusion of video as
evidence in prosecutions, and additional efforts to fight
document fraud. The GOF's recent muscular reaction contrasts
with the post-Madrid bombings period, during which GOF
leaders assured the public that France was one of the most
advanced EU countries in C/T work, and no expanded powers
were needed. PM Villepin (who had made C/T his most visible
priority as Interior Minister) and Interior Minister Sarkozy
have been jousting to appear the most committed and firm in
fighting terrorism. Neither have mentioned France's
oft-cited need to better integrate its Muslim population,
perhaps because of the backdrop of the London bombings, in
which the alleged bombers appeared to be well-integrated.
Rather, they have focused their proposals and public
statements on security. The London bombings have also
provoked a torrent of commentary, including a rare front-page
editorial by Le Monde editor-in-chief Jean-Marie Colombani
calling into question European models of integration. End
summary and comment.


2. (U) Aside from public statements and the raising of
France's Vigipirate warning system to "red" (the second
highest level), the GOF had not otherwise reacted to recent
terror attacks in the UK and Egypt until July 25, when
Interior Minister Sarkozy hosted an expanded C/T meeting that
included police, intelligence and public transport officials.
The meeting ended with a decision to advance proposals
increasing the level of video surveillance in public
transport, maintaining for a longer period of time cellular
phone call information and redoubling efforts to issue secure
identity papers. The next day, July 26, the Interior
Security Council (CSI) met. The CSI is a relatively new
Cabinet-level body that reports directly to the President,
and is used to convey the President's wishes on internal
security issues (reftel). For the first time ever, the
issues discussed and the conclusions reached were made
public. Key points include: drafting a bill by the end of
August (to be debated in the fall and passed before
Christmas) that will reinforce the use of video surveillance
in public transport and allow its full use as evidence in
court; mandating that all international trains include ID
checks; mandating that cellular phone companies conserve for
a longer period time certain details regarding all SMS and
phone calls (which implements decisions made in an earlier
meeting of G-5 Interior Ministers); and reinforcing France's
work to produce a passport with a microchip that includes a
person's identity photo. The CSI also decided to place
surveillance cameras in all 4000 Paris-area buses and to
greatly increase the number of cameras in the Paris metro

3. (SBU) The CSI decided to maintain the elevated Vigipirate
status, which includes deploying an extra 1000 French
military to guard sensitive sites. In a July 27 article
reporting on the CSI meeting, Le Figaro newspaper speculated
that disclosure of the contents of the meeting was done for
two reasons: 1) the GOF could demonstrate that it was taking
very seriously the three recent attacks; and 2) it focused
attention on the President and the Prime Minister, and so
demonstrated that Interior Minister Sarkozy is not the sole
determiner of France's C/T posture. (Comment: Along these
lines, it is interesting that the CSI recommendations are
very similar to those proposed a day earlier in the meeting
chaired by Sarkozy. Although Sarkozy's Monday meeting was
reported in the press, the surprise disclosure of details
pertaining to the CSI meeting overwhelmed coverage of
Sarkozy's meeting. End comment.)


4. (U) Major French dailies devoted many columns to analyzing
the terrorist threat. In a rare front-page editorial July
27, Le Monde editor-in-chief Jean-Marie Colombani wrote a
ten-bullet piece on "Living with terrorism." His central
message was that the Islamist terrorism threat was long-term
and would primarily impact Europe. He said European models
of integration (the British "multicultural" model and the
French "integrationist" model) were called into question
given the rise of an indigenous terrorism with roots in
Europe and the Middle East. Colombani reprised a theme
raised recently by French intellectual and researcher Bernard
Henri-Levy, that Pakistan is the "epicenter" of world
5. (SBU) Gilles Kepel, a noted researcher on Islamic
extremism, wrote on July 26 in Le Figaro newspaper that the
London bombings demonstrated the failure of the British
"multicultural" model, just as the assassination of filmmaker
Theo Van Gogh did the same for the similar Dutch
"multicultural" model. The key problem with the model, said
Kepel, was that the UK and Dutch governments allowed imams
and other purveyors of radical discourse to exert social
control over Muslim communities. (Comment: Although Kepel
did not cite the more interventionist French model as a
counter-example, it was clear from the context that he
considered the French model to be more successful in
identifying the first signs of terrorist planning. With
their nation-wide network of police and intelligence
agencies, especially the RG (France's police intelligence
agency) and the DST (France's internal security service), the
GOF model focuses heavily on the surveillance and monitoring
of communities it considers at risk. However, this aspect of
the French model is rarely discussed or reported in French
press. End comment.)

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