Cablegate: France: Scenesetter for Fbi Director Mueller,S


DE RUEHFR #1426/01 2951558
O 221558Z OCT 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001426


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2019

Classified By: Classified by Pol M/C Allegrone for Reasons 1.4 b and d.

1. (C) SUMMARY: Embassy Paris welcomes the visit of FBI
Director Mueller. The timing of this first trip is ideal,
with our bilateral relationship at its highest point in fifty
years. You will find your interlocutors energized by the
President,s visits to Paris and Normandy and they look
forward to getting a sense of your strategy for the next
year, and will want to know how they and other like-minded
European states can contribute to the success of your
efforts. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The Ministry of Interior directs a civilian force of
146,000 national police who operate with a force of 99,509
national gendarmes to maintain internal security. Sarkozy
merged the two primary internal intelligence agencies,
Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) and
Renseignements Gnraux (RG), in May 2008 to form a French
equivalent to the FBI. The goals of the merger include
removing interagency competition detrimental to France,s
counter-terrorism efforts, increasing operational capability,
and phasing out redundancies. Foreign intelligence agencies
now have a single internal intelligence interlocutor in
France, that should increase and simplify cooperation. The
organization is led by Bernard Squarcini, former deputy
director of the RG, and close friend of President Sarkozy. A
working group at the directorate general of the national
police has been meeting regularly to work out the new
structure of the merged intelligence service, including its
jurisdiction, size, and missions. The media reports that the
RG will no longer monitor public opinion, union activities,
and social conflicts, but details of on-the-ground changes in
responsibilities remain unknown. Frdric Pchenard,
director-general of the French national police is overseeing
the merger.

3. (SBU) France is one of a number of major European
countries combating terrorism at home and abroad, although it
has not suffered a significant terrorist incident in recent
years. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) poses a
considerable threat to French interests, underscored by
statements made by al-Qaida senior leadership or AQIM itself.
Local Corsican separatists, Basque Fatherland and Liberty
(ETA) members and ultra-left anarchist factions have been
responsible for the majority of recent attacks and arrests of
individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities
or membership of groups deemed terrorist. The number and
violence of ETA and Corsican attacks in France have continued
to drop, but France is at once a target as well as a
potential staging area for international Islamic terrorist
groups, including Kurdistan Workers party affiliates. France
remains on high alert and recognizes its continuing status as
a target of AQIM and of other extremist groups in France and

4. (SBU) Loic Garnier was appointed in June to succeed
Christophe Chaboud as the head of the Ministry of Interior,s
Unite de Coordination de la Lutte Anti-Terroriste (UCLAT).
Superintendant Garnier was formerly chief of the criminal
brigade, the elite unit of the judicial police in Paris.

5. (SBU) In addition to undertaking operations to arrest and
prosecute terrorists, France continued programs to address
radicalization and extremism through the use of social and
economic incentives to reduce the susceptibility of at risk

6. (C) Now approaching the midpoint of his five year term,
President Sarkozy is comfortably riding the momentum
generated by a successful showing in last June's European
Parliament elections that weakened the UMP's primary
opponent, the Socialist Party. With the opposition in
disarray, Sarkozy hopes to extend his political power base by
scoring big in upcoming regional council elections in March
2010. Regional elections will be an important snapshot of
his presidency at mid-term, and the relative strength of
French political parties before the presidential and
legislative elections in 2012. In recent months, Sarkozy and
his majority UMP party have concentrated on joining forces
with a number of small political parties from across the
political spectrum to ensure his reelection. Sarkozy has
sought to lead on security and immigration issues, an issue
that brought him considerable notoriety during his tenure as
Minister of Interior under President Chirac.

Anti-immigration sentiment has been a rallying cry for the
extremist National Front.

7. (SBU) In conjunction with specific gendarmes units used
for military operations, the army is responsible for external
security under the Ministry of Defense. France currently has
over 3,000 troops actively participating in operations in
Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom. The current
French commitment includes ground troops and air assets.
There is growing media discussion in France about the
McChrystal report, which advocates additional troops for
Afghanistan, and the Obama administration,s review of
policy. However, Sarkozy used an October 15/16 interview
with Le Figaro (focused on domestic issues and designed to
shore up his base), to state that France would send ¬ one
additional soldier8 to Afghanistan, although there may be
room for increased civilian engagement, especially if the
Afghan government is able to restore legitimacy in the wake
of the troubled August 20 elections. Unlike several other
significant European troop contributors through ISAF, the
French do not have overly restrictive rules of engagement and
have been a strong ally in the field. (Note: the
&European8 gendarme force Sarkozy proposed last spring will
finally begin to arrive in Afghanistan in December.)

8. (U) We do not have an agreement with France for Preventing
and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC). The French have
generally pointed to their privacy laws as an impediment.
The U.S. side has countered that our privacy laws are similar
and not a bar to enhanced datashare. The draft text of an
Agreement was shared with the French Ministry of Interior in
July 2009. U.S. Embassy Paris also transmitted a Diplomatic
Note to the French Foreign Ministry in August 2009 requesting
that in-depth discussions on both a PCSC Agreement and an
HSPD-6 agreement concerning terrorist watchlist data begin as
soon as possible. Despite the difficulties of getting
negotiations underway, U.S. law enforcement officials
describe cooperation with their French Government
counterparts as very good within the context of French
privacy restrictions.

9. (SBU) The constitution and law prohibit trafficking in
persons for all purposes. However, trafficking in women and
children for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor,
and petty crime is a problem. Prostitution is legal.
However, the law prohibits procuring, aiding, assisting,
maintaining, publicly soliciting, or profiting from the
prostitution of another individual. Enforcement of these
laws varied, and criminal activity related to prostitution
remained a problem. The country was a destination for
victims, primarily trafficked from Africa (notably Cameroon
and Nigeria), Central and Eastern Europe (notably Bulgaria
and Romania), the former Soviet Union, and increasingly Asia
(notably China), for prostitution and domestic servitude. A
majority of the estimated 18,000 women in the country,s
commercial sex trade were likely victims of trafficking.
Traffickers operated principally in small criminal networks
characterized as µ-trafficking networks8 that included
both citizens and foreigners. They used various methods to
recruit and retain victims including force, fraud,
identification document confiscation, cultural isolation, and
physical and psychological abuse. Several law enforcement
agencies were involved in combating trafficking. The
government cooperated bilaterally and with international
institutions such as the European Police Agency (Europol) to
investigate, track, and dismantle trafficking networks,
initiating more than 500 court cases for soliciting and
dismantling over 23 pimping networks in 2008. Authorities
worked with officials in other countries, particularly source
countries, to counter trafficking and identified 822 victims
during the year.

10. (U) France is a first-world western democracy with a
varied economy and one of the most diverse populations in
Western Europe. At least 20% of the French population of
approximately 65 million people has either a parent or a
grandparent who is or was not originally French. Most
European migrants who arrived before about 1970 have
integrated fairly effectively into French life; however, more
recent migrants and their families, many from the former
French colonies, have not been able to find a place in French
society as readily. Although there are no official
statistics, fully ten percent of France,s population is
Muslim, which have helped inform the country,s developed and

nuanced views from the Middle East Peace Process to
assimilation of minority populations. France continues to be
an asylum destination for immigrants attracted by France's
relatively generous social security, welfare and education
systems. Many migrants remain in France "without papers" to
work illegally (estimates range from 300,000 to 400,000
clandestine residents in 2008). The Government of France has
responded with a combination of integration and enforcement

11. (U) The worldwide economic crisis has increased the
unemployment rate to 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of
2008. High unemployment among the young (especially
undereducated young men of foreign origin), public tensions
among those of different social and ethnic groups, and
inadequate low-income housing all contribute to political,
social, and economic criticism of the Sarkozy administration.

Good luck with your travels in the region. We look forward
to welcoming you again to Paris.

Best regards,


© Scoop Media

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