French security faces scrutiny

France’s intelligence services are facing intense scrutiny over whether they could have prevented the Paris attacks, since one of the terrorists was known to the agency.  According to Yves Trotignon, a former counter-terrorism official in the French external service, DGSE, the security services had long feared such an event.

“It is extremely difficult to defend against such an attack once it has begun to be executed,” Trotignon said to The Guardian. “We have seen that not only in Mumbai, but also in Nairobi and Peshawar.”

“It is hard to qualify yesterday evening’s events as a success for the intelligence agencies,” said Trotignon, now an adviser at Risk & Co, an engineering and risk assessment consultancy. “But until we know more about the organisation of the attack and its authors it’s impossible to blame this or that service.”

The Paris atrocity comes after a security services thwarted a series of attempted attacks by Islamic militants in France in recent months. They successfully uncovered at least six plots.

Marc Trevidic, France’s outgoing examining magistrate in counter-terrorism cases, said shortly before the Paris attacks. “France is the principal target for an army of terrorists of unlimited means. Furthermore it’s also clear that we are particularly vulnerable because of our geographical position, for the ease of entrance on to our territory for jihadists of European origin.”