Macron's Elite Anti-Terrorism Task Force
The French government just launched a new emergency counter-terrorism task force, one the government claims will improve intelligence sharing. This task force takes some of the emergency powers granted to the French government during a state of emergency and sets them into law, measures that the French government claims will prevent further acts of terrorism.
This special taskforce, placed directly under the authority of the recently elected French President, Emmanuel Macron, was listed among the President’s campaign promises. Macron claims these issues are necessary for fighting terrorism, and plans to increase police power as one of the primary goals of his presidency. These measures, according to Macron, will improve efforts in the fight against terrorism.
On Tuesday, a forty year old suspect who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State attempted to attack a police officer outside Notre Dame, yelling: “This is for Syria.” According to a government spokesperson, however, the suspect had shown no signs of prior radicalization.
In the past two years, terrorist attacks have killed over 230 people in France. Since in many of these cases, authorities knew these suspects beforehand, many have called for increasing the emergency powers of many of France’s intelligence agencies, allowing them to take preventive action before suspected terrorists have an opportunity to act.
A parliamentary investigation recently claimed that French intelligence failed in relation to both the Charlie Hebo and Paris attacks in 2015.
Amedy Coulibaly killed four people during a siege at a local grocery following the Charlie Hebo attacks. While resisting capture, Coulibaly shot and killed a police officer. Since Coulibaly was a known and repeat offender, already in the prison system during a plot to free an accomplice from jail, authorities identified him as being radicalized. Prison services failed to pass this information to intelligence services after his release.
Six intelligence agencies in France answer directly to the interior, economy, and defense ministries.
France is building a new taskforce of around twenty people to hunt down and capture suspected terrorists. This taskforce operates under emergency powers under the direct control of the French president.
Instead of reorganizing or restructuring the existing intelligence agencies, Macron hopes to make the existing intelligence agencies stronger.
These agencies will target internet websites that tell people how to carry out an attack or attempt to radicalize impressionable young men. They will especially examine any French citizens who recently return from fighting in Syria.
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