It looks like boring administrative sociology, it’s actually a small palace revolution at the heart of the French secret services.
Entry into force on 1er November 2022, the reorganization that took place within the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) upset the internal balances and broke the baronies that had structured this institution for nearly forty years. It led to a major game of musical chairs in the world of French intelligence and concentrated power in the hands of the general management of the service, currently occupied by the diplomat Bernard Emié. Finally, it shattered the idea of an independent technical intelligence agency, like the American National Security Agency (NSA).
This reform, announced in the middle of the summer of 2022, led to the disappearance of the flagship department of the DGSE, that of intelligence (DR). Marc Pimond, appointed at its head in 2016, represented a real internal counter-power. An expert in the Arab world, he was appointed coordinator of DGSE activities for South-East Asia, a tailor-made position located in Singapore. His contested results on the African ground, where Paris failed to anticipate the political crises in Mali and the waves of resentment towards France, particularly in Burkina-Faso, probably did not help him to defend the survival of this bastion.
Similarly, the risk of war in Ukraine would have been underestimated. In response, his troops argue that the fight against jihadist networks was assigned to them as a priority and that many agents stationed in the Russian sphere had joined the DGSE system in the Sahel.
Improve the flow of information
But behind the disappearance of the intelligence department, it is also a certain culture of secrecy that seems to have been stigmatized. The very partitioned and vertical organization that prevailed at the DGSE, structured in directions commanded by mandarins jealously guarding their backyard, seems to have died out.
“One might wonder, indeed, summarizes a senior intelligence official, agreeing to speak on condition of anonymity, when the partitioning of information serves the action of the country and when it serves your administrative power alone. Moreover, analysts were doing the same thing in the technical and intelligence departments without knowing it. »
Pascal Mailhos, appointed, on January 11, national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism (CNRLT), replacing Laurent Nunez, as revealed The worldshould also contribute to improving the circulation of information within the world of espionage.
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