France's former top anti-terror judge slams US intelligence
Jan 13, 2010, 8:36 GMT
Paris - France's long-time leading investigating magistrate for counter-terrorism, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, fiercely criticized the anti-terror effort of the US intelligence services Wednesday.
'The failure of the US intelligence community to prevent the Christmas Day bombing attempt is not due to the failure of any individual or department but of the system itself,' Bruguiere said in an opinion piece published in the Paris-based International Herald Tribune.
Bruguiere, who in 1994 helped track down and capture one of the world's most wanted terrorists, Carlos the Jackal, wrote that the American 'emphasis on tough border controls' and its 'over-emphasis on information-gathering technology' has failed.
Instead, he urged the Americans to take 'a more proactive approach' which includes 'information-sharing and cooperation among intelligence agencies within the US and abroad.'
He said the problem with the American reliance on satellites, drones and other communications scanning is that it provides too much data, which 'kills operational information.'
Because of the changing nature of the terrorist threat human beings are generally more effective in gathering intelligence than technology, he said.
'Satellites cannot get inside the mind of a jihadist,' Bruguiere wrote.
The suggestions he made include improving the 'circulation of information in real time,' and he pointed to the Christmas Day terror attempt over Detroit as an example.
'If the information provided by the father of the Nigerian charged in the Christmas Day bombing attempt had been properly shared and analyzed, the suspect would have been prevented from boarding a plane headed for the US.'
France, said Bruguiere, has adopted a proactive strategy to fight terrorism.
'As a result,' he noted, 'France has not been hit on our soil by a terrorist attack since 1996, foiling one or two attempts a year during that period.'