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Praising France: Alliance Base and counterterrorism

Dana Priest praises the French, and the heretofore undisclosed top secret center in Paris, code-named Alliance Base, set up by trhe CIA and French intelligence services in 2002. This organization is unique because it is multinational and "actually plans operations" instead of just sharing information. Other countries also participate.

Funded largely by the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, Alliance Base analyzes the transnational movement of terrorist suspects and develops operations to catch or spy on them.

Alliance Base demonstrates how most counterterrorism operations actually take place: through secretive alliances between the CIA and other countries’ intelligence services. This is not the work of large army formations, or even small special forces teams, but of handfuls of U.S. intelligence case officers working with handfuls of foreign operatives, often in tentative arrangements.

Such joint intelligence work has been responsible for identifying, tracking and capturing or killing the vast majority of committed jihadists who have been targeted outside Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to terrorism experts.


The former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, described the relationship between the CIA and its French counterparts as "one of the best in the world. What they are willing to contribute is extraordinarily valuable." There is some detail on the arrest of Christian Ganczarski and Ahmed Mehdi, as well as Ahmed Ressam and Zacarias Moussaoui. There are other nuggets of interesting information in the article, and all of it is worth reading. Note the last line in the article, a quote from French Interior Minister Sarkozy.

Related to the above story is this: Italy
"seethes" with anger over the CIA’s apparent abduction of an Islamic militant cleric.

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