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France: Reorganization of Intelligence Services

(Nov. 2, 2007) Two of France's intelligence organizations, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST, Directorate of Territorial Security) and the Renseignements Généraux (RG, Central Directorate of General Information), are merging into one agency, the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI, Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence), to better fight terrorism. The DST was responsible for counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, and protection of the economic and scientific assets of France. The RG served as an information-gathering service for the government on a wide range of topics. It participated in the defense of the fundamental interests of France and supported the country's internal security missions. One of its sub-directorates, the Directorate of Research, centralized information concerning prevention and the fight against terrorism and watched groups that pose risks to the national security.

The merger should be complete at the beginning of 2008, when a director is appointed. The aim of the reorganization is to strengthen the fight against terrorism by avoiding miscommunication and competition between the two services. The RG and DST were well known for their rivalry. The President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, a former Minister of the Interior, requested the reorganization. The new agency will have four directorates: counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, industrial espionage, and monitoring social unrest such as, for example, the 2005 youth riots. (Gérard Davet & Isabelle Mandraud, La ministre de l'intérieur présente le nouveau visage des services de renseignement français, LE MONDE, Sept. 14, 2007, at 9.)