Were French intelligence forces complicit in the Charlie Hebdo attacks?

New revelations on the intensive surveillance of the Kouachi brothers and of Amedy Coulibaly carried out by French intelligence before they launched terror attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher grocery in January 2015 raise the most serious questions as to the political origins of the attacks.

– Anthony Torres

Already last year, it was hard to understand how individuals known to the intelligence services could have prepared such attacks without being detected. The revelation that Coulibaly received weapons from Claude Hermant, a police informant tied to the neo-fascist and anti-Muslim National Front (FN), raised further questions as to the possible complicity of political forces in France that could have benefited from them. The attack not only accelerated the normalization of the FN, but reinforced police powers, a key element of the policy of the ruling Socialist Party (PS).

Documents obtained by investigating magistrates probing the January 2015 attacks raise even more questions, however, about possible complicity of forces within the French state.

The Kouachi brothers were closely monitored between 2010 and 2015 due to their direct contact with leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a branch of al Qaeda often described by NATO security forces, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, as the most dangerous in the world. According to about 40 reports of the General Directorate of Interior Security (DGSI) obtained by Le Monde, French intelligence indeed stopped monitoring Chérif and Saïd Kouachi a few months before the attacks.

The decision not to monitor individuals linked to the AQAP leadership is inexplicable. AQAP members in Yemen are routinely targeted by US drone strikes, supposedly because a war on this group is necessary to prevent them from operating in Europe or America.

French intelligence were already investigating Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly as far back as March 2010. Starting at that time, according to Le Monde, the two regularly visited Djamil Beghal. Le Monde observes that Coulibaly was linked to “the hard core of French jihadism, without this prompting anything other than indifference” from the authorities.

On the other hand, at that time, French intelligence was following the Kouachi brothers very closely. Beghal was under house arrest after a ten-year sentence for planning attacks against US targets in Europe. Beghal was being tapped and monitored by the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence (later renamed the DGSI) and targeted for an investigation by the Central Directorate of the Judiciary Police (DCPJ). …


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