Intel ‘Sources’ Claim Toulouse Terrorist Worked for French Intelligence
Milan IL FOGLIO.it in Italian 23 Mar 12
[Report by Daniele Raineri: “The French Al-Qa’ida Murderer Is an Intelligence Operation That Went Wrong”]
The young French Al-Qa’ida member who has been slaying soldiers and Jews in the Toulouse area was a French intelligence services operation that went wrong. Mohammed Merah was an agent serving both sides, a man split down the middle: Half of him answered to the terrorist organization, and the other half to the government’s security services — until in his brain, the half working for extremism, the jihadist half that he kept well concealed deep in his soul, prevailed, ending up with his committing a series of murders and finally meeting his own death in his home after a 30-hour siege conducted by the police.
This story is reminiscent of the affair of the informer recruited by the Jordanian intelligence services and passed on by them to US intelligence. On the pretext that he wished to disclose confidential information regarding the position of Al-Qa’ida’s leader, he was received at a CIA base in December 2009 and blew himself up, killing seven [US intelligence] officers.
According to intelligence sources that have spoken with Il Foglio, during the siege of Number 17 Rue du Sergeant Vigne on Wednesday [ 21 March], his handler [previous word in English in original] — in other words the intelligence agent tasked with keeping in touch with him and with tracking him in his “career” in the Islamist network (Merah was a member of an extremist group disbanded ex officio last month) — had no trouble entering the apartment in order to negotiate a surrender that would not create too much embarrassment for the organization managing him.
For indirect confirmation, one has but to read French magazine Le Point, which reports that one of the next targets on Merah’s list was “an intelligence service functionary of Muslim origin.” Le Point does not provide the agent’s name, nor does it explain why a penniless youngster from a Toulous suburb should be acquainted with an intelligence agent and also know what religion he professed. Merah was planning to kill his contact in the intelligence services. There is also the suspicion that at first, after the two consecutive assaults on soldiers in the street, Merah’s name was removed from the list of potential terrorists because he was considered to be “one of our men.”
In fact, his handler is said to have asked him for information on the killings and on those who might be responsible for them, instead of adding his name to the list of those to be checked on and kept a close watch on — as should have happened in view of his record, which includes trips to theaters of war. Le Monde writes that “there are still doubts surrounding Merah’s capacity for self-funding, given that he is alleged to have paid for his weapons, for the renting of houses, and for trips to Asia out of his own pocket. Such doubts have been voiced also by the Paris public prosecutor, who said: ‘His income was at RSA level (Active Solidarity Income, in other words the government’s poverty subsidy — Il Foglio editor’s note).'” And Le Monde adds: “Further investigation appears to be required in order to find out who was helping him, but for the time being such investigation is coming up against a gray area.”
But more than the confidential notes on his ties with the intelligence services, and more than the money trail, it is the story of his travels that bowls over the version which the French police have provided so far, namely that of a lone wolf who suddenly decides to let fling with a chain of killings, with only one possible ending. Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins spoke of the “self-radicalization of a Salafist with a nontypical profile.” In actual fact, the list of stamps on his passport tells of a structured path leading toward jihad. On 22 November 2010 the Afghan police detained him in Kandahar, the city in Afghanistan where the Taliban presence is strongest. They handed him over to the French NATO contingent and he was shipped back to France. In between he spen t a short time in US hands, and it was a US officer who told Le Monde: “He went to Israel, to Syria, to Iraq, and to Jordan.”
Before his arrest, he went to the Indian Consulate in Kandahar and applied for a visa for India. A French military source added: He also went to Iran twice (the DCRI [French Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence], the intelligence service that concerns itself with counterespionage and with the struggle against terrorism, has denied this, however). He went to Pakistan in 2010 to get married, but he was expelled. The following year he returned to the country and clandestinely entered the two tribal agencies [as published] that host the jihad: South Waziristan and North Waziristan.
And there are other links as well. The Merah brothers are close to a group of extremists arrested in 2007 and sentenced on a terrorism charge in Toulouse in 2009. How such an individual can be presented as a normal Frenchman with no connections, eking out a miserable living in a Toulouse suburb, is a mystery. Even the weapons found in his apartment, an assault rifle and a machine-gun, are said to be part of his “package of relative freedoms” provided in return for information from inside the extremist group.
Phi Beta Iota: When intelligence services become bureaucracies — and political chess pieces — and then get more money than they can spend with intelligence or integrity — bad things happen. There is now a clear pattern that connects government intelligence and counter-intelligence services with acts of terrorism — giving more money to a government secret service (or even worse, contractors to a government secret service) virtually guarantees additional acts of terrorism by individuals directly connected to these government-funded programs. Self-licking ice cream cone, indeed.