French lawmakers propose intelligence overhaul after 2015 attacks

France's intelligence services should be overhauled, a parliamentary inquiry commission tasked with assessing possible security flaws recommended Tuesday. The commission was set up in the wake of terrorist attacks that hit the country in 2015.

The commission said that counter-terrorism activities should be re-organized around a national agency directly under the authority of the prime minister, French newspaper Le Monde said.

It also recommended measures to bolster cooperation between police and military intervention forces, and to streamline intelligence services.

The head of the parliamentary group, Georges Fenech, said Tuesday on social media that the commission's report conclusions had been adopted unanimously and that a body was set up to monitor the implementation of the proposals.

Last year, France was hit by shootings at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, as well as coordinated attacks around Paris - including at the Bataclan music hall and Stade de France stadium - on November 13 that left 130 people dead.

While the attacks on the Bataclan music hall could not have been avoided, French media cited commission members saying, more than three dozen measures were drawn up to improve security preparation for such attacks. French broadcaster BFM-TV said the commission also found a series of shortcomings in the police response.

One of the points of focus has been the surveillance of would-be terrorists. Many of the young men who carried out the 2015 attacks were known to French security services, including a few who served time in the country's prisons and had been at one time under surveillance.

"The terrorists were under surveillance. The Paris attacks are a failure of our services; we are calling their organization into question," Fenech said on Twitter.

Speaking to broadcaster BFM-TV, Fenech had pointed specifically to the case of Said Kouachi, one of the Charlie Hebdo shooters, who was under Parisian surveillance until it was lifted when he left Paris. The case was then taken up by French intelligence agency DGSI.

In order to avoid such interruptions, one of the commission's proposals was to fuse together existing intelligence services and reinforce the DGSI, newspaper Le Figaro reported. It also proposed the creation of one agency dedicated to bringing counter-terrorism efforts under one roof.

Last update: Tue, 05/07/2016 - 12:53
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