Sunday, May 16, 2010

European antiterrorism agencies favor human intelligence over technology

The tip from Spain was only a vague warning. But it was enough for France's domestic intelligence agents to go to work, tapping phones, tailing suspects and squeezing informants. Before long, they rolled up a group of Muslim men in a provincial French town who, beneath a tranquil surface, were drawing up al-Qaeda-inspired plans to set off a bomb in the Paris subway. The plot, described by a source with firsthand information, was one of 15 planned terrorist attacks by jihadist cells in France that have been thwarted in recent years, according to a count by the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), France's main antiterrorism force. One was a bomb plot directed against the directorate's own headquarters.

The antiterrorism policing—it is a not a "war," specialists here emphasized—has been conducted for the most part in the dark, and in a style that sets France and other European countries apart from the United States. As U.S. officials seek to understand what may have led a Pakistani immigrant to try to blow up Times Square, and how he boarded an airplane at John F. Kennedy International Airport despite multiple computerized watch lists, Europe's specialists have pointed to their own approach as an example of how to proceed.

From the beginning the emphasis in Europe has been on domestic human intelligence rather than the computerized systems such as watch lists favored by U.S. security agencies. That has meant tedious hours of surveillance, patient listening-in on telephone conversations, careful review of bank records, and relentless recruitment of informants among Islamic zealots who are motivated to betray acquaintances by everything from fear of losing visas to a desire to clear the name of Islam in European minds.



Search This Blog

Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP