How the French Fight Terror

(Foreign Policy) Marc Perelman - In 1988, the FBI invited Alain Marsaud, then France's top antiterrorist magistrate, to speak about terrorism to the bureau's new recruits. Marsaud, now a conservative lawmaker, told the audience of the deadly threat that radical Islamist terrorist networks posed to Western societies. His talk was an unmitigated flop, he recalls. France found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern terrorists well before the U.S. did. France was the first to uncover a plot to crash a jetliner into a landmark building (the Eiffel Tower) - a chilling preview of the 9/11 attacks. It was the first to face the reality that its own citizens could become assets of Islamist terrorist groups, long before British nationals bombed the London Underground last July. As a result, it has continuously adapted its judicial system and intelligence services to the terrorist threat that it faces.

2006-02-10 00:00:00

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