Intelligence: December 19, 1999


The French parliament has drafted a bill that would allow (for the first time) a parliamentary committee to oversee the operations of French intelligence. A dozen previous attempts since 1980 to pass such a bill have failed, but the current leftist government has shown a willingness to accept some kind of oversight and the present bill might pass. The French military and intelligence agencies are furiously lobbying against the move, and stories abound in the French press of threatened blackmail against legislators. All four French intelligence agencies (military intelligence, the Securite', domestic counter-intelligence, and the police intelligence unit that tracks organized crime) would be covered. The French parliament is reportedly annoyed by the operations in Bosnia and Kosovo and has asked for military and Securite' officials to appear in committee and testify on operations there. The intelligence ministries have bluntly refused to provide any officials for questioning. --Stephen V Cole


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