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Paris Attacks Inquiry Calls for New Umbrella Intel Agency

  • Lisa Bryant

FILE - French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, March 30, 2016. Conducting an inquiry into last year's Paris attacks, a French parliamentary committee on Tuesday released 39 recommendations, including streamlined intelligence gathering.

FILE - French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, March 30, 2016. Conducting an inquiry into last year's Paris attacks, a French parliamentary committee on Tuesday released 39 recommendations, including streamlined intelligence gathering.

A U.S.-style national terrorism center? That is one of the recommendations coming from a French parliamentary inquiry into last year’s Paris attacks. It also cites intelligence shortfalls leading up to the attacks and limits to the current state of emergency.

The conclusions are part of 39 recommendations in a new report by a parliamentary commission probing the attacks, and are aimed at preventing a repeat.

The report describes communication failures among France’s different intelligence agencies leading up to the two attacks that together killed 147 people.

That includes dropping surveillance against jihadist Said Kouachi who attacked the Charlie Hebdo newspaper with his brother Cherif in January 2015, and failing to track another January assailant, Amedy Coulibaly, after he became radicalized in prison.

It also faults Belgium for slowness in tracking down surviving November 2015 attacks suspect, Salah Abdeslam.

FILE - People gather and lay flowers in memory of victims at the Bataclan music hall in Paris, France, Nov. 15, 2015. (Photo: L. Bryant/VOA)

FILE - People gather and lay flowers in memory of victims at the Bataclan music hall in Paris, France, Nov. 15, 2015. (Photo: L. Bryant/VOA)


The commission proposes overhauling intelligence services to create a single counter-terror hub similar to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center set up after the September 2001 attacks.

It also concludes that France’s controversial state of emergency has had a limited impact on security.

Commission member and Socialist lawmaker Sebastien Petrasanta told reporters France should recruit more police to replace soldiers now deployed with the state of emergency, and equip forces with special training and handguns.

But he claims it was impossible to avoid the most horrific attack, November’s killings at the Bataclan nightclub.

Victims association head Georges Salines, who lost a daughter at the Bataclan, disagrees.

Salines says without intelligence failures and shortcomings, the Bataclan attack might have been avoided. He says he needs time to study the report, but he supports many of its conclusions.

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