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Cablegate: France: Dhs Acting U/S Beardsworth Meets

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



1. (SBU) Summary. In his meetings with French officials,
U/S Beardsworth highlighted the positive uses of Passenger
Name Record (PNR) data and engendered an appreciation of
how PNR data can help advance our mutual interest of
denying terrorists freedom to travel while protecting
privacy and facilitating the legitimate movement of people
and goods. U/S Beardsworth also responded to French
concerns about the No-Fly system, pointing to its overall
success and committed to take steps to improve the
communications and processes in place with respect to
French No Fly situations. End Summary

2. (SBU) In addition to meeting with Ambassador Stapleton
and members of the country team, Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) Acting Under Secretary for Border and
Transportation Security Randy Beardsworth met with French
officials in Paris July 20, 2005. U/S Beardsworth attended
two separate meetings, the first hosted by the Secretariat
Gnrale de la Defense Nationale (SGDN) with officials
primarily from SGDN and the Ministry of Interior (MOI); the
second with Claude Gueant, MOI Chief of Cabinet. The
meeting at the SGDN, the Prime Minister's coordinating body
for national defense and counter-terrorism, included the
following officials: Francis Delon, SGDN Secretary General;
Jerome Leonnet, the PM's Technical Counselor for Security
(SGDN); Col. Gratien Maire, the PM's Deputy Director of
Military Affairs(SGDN); Eric Lebedel, Director of
International and Strategic Affairs(SGDN); Alain Coursaget,
Deputy Director of Protection and State Security(SGDN);
Jean-Philippe Grelot, Counselor for Defense Affairs(SGDN);
Col. Henri Schlienger, Protection and State Security(SGDN);
Michel Gaudin, Director General of the National Police
(MOI); Stephane Fratacci, Director of the Office of Public
Liberties and Legal Affairs (MOI); Pierre Debue, Central
Director of the Border Police (MOI); Christophe Chaboud,
head of the Anti-Terrorist Co-Ordination Cell (MOI);
Francois Darcy, head of the Office of International and
European Affairs (MOI); Pascal-Jean Perron, Director of
Economic and Financial Affairs (Ministry of Finance);
Michel Wachenheim, Director General of Civil Aviation; and
Paul Schwach, Director of Strategic and Technical Affairs,
Civil Aviation.

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3. (SBU) The most substantive discussions took place at the
meeting hosted by the SGDN. The French began by a
discussion of their anti-terrorist planning system, noting
that they had raised the threat level after the London
subway bombings. It consisted of five warning levels and a
"toolkit" of around 500 measures that could be applied
either globally or sector-specifically in response to
threats. They were currently considering whether and when
to change the warning level, and how to balance increased
security against the extra costs and danger of creating
complacency in the public. U/S Beardsworth described the
U.S. system as very similar, and noted that the U.S. was
grappling with the same kind of issues in setting its
threat levels.

4. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth then described the recent re-
organization of DHS as a result of its second-stage review
process, which involved 18 working groups in 5 strategic
areas: Preparedness, Border Control and Immigration,
Transportation Security, Information Sharing, and Business
Processes. He emphasized a number of changes that would
lead to increased efficiency and coherence: the creation of
a Director of Preparedness, a new Department level Policy
office, and of a new Intelligence position reporting
directly to the Secretary. He reassured the French
officials that TSA would continue to have operational
responsibility for transportation security issues.

5. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth began his presentation on PNR data
by providing an overview of how it related to the No-Fly
(NF) list, which is a compilation of individuals suspected
of having a terrorist nexus. He explained that PNR data is
not used to populate the NF list, nor has it been used to
divert aircraft. APIS data, a manifest of passengers
traveling to the U.S., is checked against the NF list in
determining potential diversions of aircraft. While APIS
data is a highly successful tool for identifying known
persons of interest, it does not identify those who are
unknown. The PNR database develops relationships between
these knowns and unknowns through common patterns and
relationships between data elements. For example, the PNR
database is able to red flag passengers who have a
questionable travel itinerary or who paid for their travel
through questionable sources.

6. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth pointed out how successful the No-
Fly screening process has been overall. Of the 750 million
passengers flying into or within the U.S., U/S Beardsworth
noted that there were 202 "encounters" from the 30,000
names on the NF list, a sub-set of the 400,000 names on
terrorist watch lists. Of the 202 cases, in 120 cases the
individual did not board the aircraft. Of the remaining 82
who flew, DHS had reviewed its information and had
downgraded the individual for that flight, allowing the
flight to proceed. As for the remaining 28 cases, only
eight resulted in diversion of the aircraft. Of those
eight cases, six involved individuals the United States
categorically did not want to be on board the aircraft.
One case involved an individual in the unfortunate
circumstance of having the same name and date of birth as a
terrorist; and in the final case a passport known to be
stolen and in use by terrorists was used - but in this case
the rightful original holder was the passenger in question.
U/S Beardsworth summarized that DHS had avoided flight
diversions in all but a very few cases of grave concern.

7. (SBU) Michel Wachenheim, DGAC stated that the most
recent NF diversion on July 8 of an Air France flight also
raised a number of questions (Reftel): Why did it take so
long to identify a problem with the passenger involved,
since the U.S. had AMADEUS reservation data "days" ahead of
time and three APIS transmissions before departure? What
was the explanation for three Air France NF incidents in
the past three months? What of the economic implications
of repeated diversions of Air France flights? France
wanted to respect its obligations under the NF system, but
we needed to look at how it was being implemented, and to
avoid wherever possible last-minute decisions to divert
aircraft. He suggested that perhaps the U.S. and French
intelligence services needed to share more information on
NF nominees, especially since they could well pose a danger
beyond air transportation.

8. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth replied that these were all
excellent points. He elaborated that it was very important
to share information to the maximum extent possible, and we
had already agreed to provide the NF list to the French.
We also needed to look at terrorist travel as a broader
issue. Just as the international community works together
to deny financial resources to terrorist organizations, so
does the international community need to prevent terrorists
from international travel without the appropriate scrutiny
and oversight.

9. (SBU) SG Delon said that nonetheless the system had to
be credible, and that he felt the image of Air France was
at stake in these repeated diversions. U/S Beardsworth
replied that he understood this concern, and that he was
going to explore adopting special measures to help minimize
future diversions of French flights, and to provide full
and accurate information as quickly as possible in
potential NF cases.

10. (SBU) Turning to PNR data, U/S Beardsworth discussed
the ongoing case of a suspected cell of terrorists in Lodi,
California. The case demonstrated that the unique aspects
of the PNR database allowed for queries that uncovered key
linkages between individuals that otherwise would not have
been made, thus expanding the Joint Terrorism Task Force
(JTTF) investigation. In response to the recent terrorist
incident in London on July 7, a PNR database search was
configured in a matter of hours that was tailored to
identifying potential terrorists linked to those attacks.
PNR data had also proved its worth identifying travel
agencies with a history of facilitating the travel of those
using lost or stolen passports, or other fraudulent

11. (SBU) SG Delon said he fully understood the value of
the database, but pointed out that it raised privacy
concerns in European countries. U/S Beardsworth replied
that he had recently met with EU parliamentarians to
address these concerns, and that the U.S. was fully
committed to the Undertakings, a set a agreements for data
privacy measures agreed to by the U.S. and EU. These
included various safeguards that have been built into the
PNR database, such as filters and audit functions, that
ensure PNR data is protected from those without a need to
see it. In fact, our rules offered a stronger system of
protection than that available in many European countries.
DGPN Gaudin for his part said the French police authorities
looked on using PNR in France with "a favorable eye,"
provided issues of judicial supervision and privacy of data
could be resolved.

12. (SBU) SG Delon said that it would be helpful to have
more information in writing on how the U.S. system actually
worked; there were many points that needed to be clarified
on what data the USG wanted and how we would use it. In
particular, more information on physical and electronic
access, audit and tracability, and retention of records
could help resolve European privacy concerns. Michel
Wachenheim worried that providing PNR data would create an
additional economic burden on French airlines, and might
increase the number of potential no-fly cases. U/S
Beardsworth replied that economic issues were indeed
important, and that we were working to ease the burden on
airlines by moving to a system of earlier transmission of
APIS data, and by trying to encourage harmonization of EU
and U.S. standards on PNR data. There was however no
systematic link between PNR data and the no-fly system, or
indeed to other law enforcement or intelligence databases.

13. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth said he would provide written
material that would address SG Delon's questions, and
suggested that the French might benefit from sending
someone for a week in order to observe exactly how we use
PNR data, as well as the effective implementation of
protective safeguards for privacy of data. SG Delon
thanked him for the offer, concluding that there was still
much work to do to improve our cooperation on air security
and anti-terrorism.

14. (SBU) In a separate meeting at the Ministry of the
Interior, U/S Beardsworth discussed PNR issues with Claude
Guant, Head of the Interior Minister's Cabinet. David
Martinon, the Minister's Diplomatic Advisor was also
present. He made the same points regarding PNR detailed in
the paragraphs above. Mr. Guant commented that France was
conscious of the changing nature of the terrorist threat:
terrorists had moved to a more "industrial" organization
that required new and more systematic tools than
traditional investigative work could provide. Tracking
travel was potentially of great interest in this respect.

15. (SBU) U/S Beardsworth replied that the U.S. was
increasingly making a distinction between identifying
people who were threats through intelligence, and screening
larger numbers of people who could be worth interviewing
because they might possess useful information. It was
important to deny terrorists access to travel, he noted, as
we are denying them access to financial resources. He
emphasized his willingness to consider special arrangements
if necessary to improve the handling of no-fly cases in
France. He repeated his suggestion that the French
consider sending a technical person to see how the PNR
system worked in practice. Mr. Guant expressed interest
in this idea.

16. (SBU) Mr. Guant also indicated that the French had
recently decided to meet VWP deadlines for passports with
digital photos, and that an e-passport would eventually
follow. He also hinted that the ministry may have more
ambitious plans, and might be looking at whether they could
meet the October 2005 VWP deadline for beginning production
of a passport with an electronic chip.
17. (SBU) Finally, in a short meeting with Air France Vice-
President for External Relations Guy Tardieu, U/S
Beardsworth responded to a number of concerns provoked by
the latest no-fly diversion of an Air France flight.
Tardieu emphasized that it was very important for Air
France to avoid future diversions if possible, and wanted
to work with TSA more intensively and at an earlier stage
of the process. Air France's reputation was at stake, and
the USG needed to be especially careful about public
communication during diversions, so that Air France was not
unfairly blamed. U/S Beardsworth reassured Tardieu that he
would look into developing special measures to respond to
his concerns. Tardieu suggested that more French-speaking
TSA staff in France could be helpful. Air France had found

direct communications with English-speaking staff at TSA's
operations center difficult during flight diversions.
18. (U) Acting U/S Beardsworth was accompanied to the
meetings by: Dennis Sequeira, Director, Europe &
Multilateral Affairs, DHS Office of International Affairs;
Erik Shoberg, Policy Advisor, DHS Office of Customs and
Border Protection; Jill Drury, Policy Advisor and TSA
liaison to Brussels; and Executive Assistant David von
Damm. Deirdre Mahon, DHS Representative, Embassy Paris;
Nouri Larbi, TSA Representative, Embassy Paris; and Mark
Motley, Embassy Paris, (notetaker) also participated.

19. (U) This message has been cleared by U/S Beardsworth.

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