Tuesday, April 17, 2007

America didn't listen to France

It has just been revealed publicly, in the prestigious daily newspaper Le Monde, that the DGSE [French secret service] submitted to the CIA chief in Paris, on 5 January 2001 (eight months before the destruction of the Twin Towers), a precise report concerning the threat of aircraft hijacking by Al-Qaeda terrorists. This note even included an organizational chart of the senior Al-Qaeda hierarchy.

Since France had been the target of terrorist attacks at an early date, French intelligence concerning Oussama Ben Laden was far in advance of US knowledge in this domain. The report sent to the CIA by the DGSE mentioned seven airlines that might be targeted by Al-Qaeda hijackers, and this list included the two that were finally chosen: American Airlines and United Airlines. The January 2001 report spoke of timing, explaining that the hijacking project, initially prepared for 2000, had been postponed.

Bush invaded Iraq without paying attention to warnings from France concerning the grave consequences of such an idiotic act. Today, we learn retrospectively that, well before Iraq, ignoring French advice had already become a style of foreign affairs "thinking" in the USA. It would be well, I feel, if this situation were to evolve soon in a positive sense.

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