France: Man on Terrorism Watch List just became a Police Officer, after being rejected by French Army
— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) September 25, 2017
On 25 September, French broadcaster RTL reported that a man, a suspect of terrorism, was made ‘guardian of the peace’ the lowest rank in France’s national police force. In 2012, a ‘fiche S’ was issued for the man. A ‘fiche S’, short of fiche Sûreté de l’État is an indicator, used by law enforcement to flag an individual considered a serious threat to national security. It is considered the highest such level of warning in France, allowing surveillance of the subject, but not arrest. During 2012, the man was leaning towards radical Islam.
The man tried to enrol in the army, after which the DSGI (General Directorate for Internal Security), France’s intelligence agency, flagged him. Notification of this ‘fiche S’ was sent to the Ministry of the Interior, responsible for France’s police. Despite this, he slipped through the net when, after being rejected by the army, he tried his luck with the police. He was appointed as a Security Assistant (ADS) and began his training for police officer.
The good news is, that during a three-year surveillance by the DGSI, there was nothing that suggested he had anything to do with terrorist plots. The ‘fiche S’ was revoked, and on 22 September – according to RTL’s sources – the man was officially instated as a police officer.
Despite the man’s apparent innocence, RTL raises a few pertinent questions. How is it possible that the man was recruited to become an ADS, even though he was monitored by intelligence agencies? How do institutions handle this kind of situation?
No satisfying answer has yet been provided. And what leniency, if any, can we afford to give to individuals in these kinds of situations, in view of the sensitive nature of these kinds of occupations? The new anti-terrorism law, it is suggested, would deal with this problem by making administrative checks mandatory for recruits seeking employment with police, gendarmerie or customs.