|Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure|
Partout où nécessité fait loi
("Wherever necessity makes law")
|Formed||April 2, 1982|
|Jurisdiction||Government of France|
|Headquarters||141 Boulevard Mortier, Paris XX, France|
|Parent agency||Ministry of Defence|
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The General Directorate for External Security (French: Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure, DGSE) is France's external intelligence agency. The French equivalent to the United Kingdom's MI6 and the United States' CIA, the DGSE operates under the direction of the French Ministry of Defence and works alongside its domestic counterpart, the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security), in providing intelligence and safeguarding French national security, notably by performing paramilitary and counterintelligence operations abroad. As with most other intelligence agencies, details of its operations and organization are highly classified, and are therefore not made public.
The DGSE's head office is in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.It engages in a significant amount of economic espionage.
The DGSE can trace its roots back to November 27, 1943, when a central external intelligence agency, known as the DGSS (Direction générale des services spéciaux), was founded by politician Jacques Soustelle. The name of the agency was changed on October 26, 1944 to DGER (Direction générale des études et recherches). As the organisation was characterised by numerous cases of nepotism, abuses and political feuds, Soustelle was removed from his position as Director.
Former free-fighter André Dewavrin, aka "Colonel Passy", was tasked to reform the DGER; he fired more than 8,300 of the 10,000 full-time intelligence workers Soustelle had hired, and the agency was renamed SDECE (Service de documentation extérieure et de contre-espionnage) on December 28, 1945. The SDECE also brought under one head a variety of separate agencies – some, such as the well-known Deuxième Bureau , aka 2e Bureau, created by the military circa 1871–1873 in the wake of the birth of the French Third Republic. Another was the BRCA ( Bureau central de renseignements et d'action ), formed during WWII, from July 1940 to November 27, 1943, with André Dewavrin as its head.
On April 2, 1982, the new socialist government of François Mitterrand extensively reformed the SDECE and renamed it DGSE.The SDECE had remained independent until the mid-1960s, when it was discovered to have been involved in the kidnapping and presumed murder of Mehdi Ben Barka, a Moroccan revolutionary living in Paris. Following this scandal, it was announced that the agency was placed under the control of the French Ministry of Defence. In reality, foreign intelligence activities in France have always been supervised by the military since 1871, for political reasons mainly relating to anti-Bonapartism and the rise of Socialism. Exceptions related to telecommunications interception and cyphering and code-breaking, which were also conducted by the police in territorial France, and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs abroad, and economic and financial intelligence, which were also carried out initially by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, from 1915 onwards, by the Ministry of Commerce until the aftermath of WWII, when the SDECE of the Ministry of Defence took over the specialty in partnership with the Ministry for the Economy and Finance.
In 1992, most of the defence responsibilities of the DGSE, no longer relevant to the post-Cold War context, were transferred to the Military Intelligence Directorate (DRM), a new military agency.Combining the skills and knowledge of five military groups, the DRM was created to close the intelligence gaps of the 1991 Gulf War.
The SDECE and DGSE have been shaken by numerous scandals. In 1968, for example, Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, who had been an important officer in the French intelligence system for 20 years, asserted in published memoirs that the SDECE had been deeply penetrated by the Soviet KGB in the 1950s. He also indicated that there had been periods of intense rivalry between the French and U.S. intelligence systems. In the early 1990s a senior French intelligence officer created another major scandal by revealing that the DGSE had conducted economic intelligence operations against American businessmen in France.
A major scandal for the service in the late Cold War was the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985. The Rainbow Warrior was sunk by operatives in what the service named Opération Satanique, killing one of the crew. The operation was ordered by the French President, François Mitterrand.New Zealand was outraged that its sovereignty was violated by an ally, as was the Netherlands since the killed Greenpeace activist was a Dutch citizen and the ship had Amsterdam as its port of origin.
The agency was conventionally run by French military personnel until 1999, when former diplomat Jean-Claude Cousseran was appointed its head. Cousseran had served as an ambassador to Turkey and Syria, as well as a strategist in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cousseran reorganized the agency to improve the flow of information,following a series of reforms drafted by Bruno Joubert, the agency's director of strategy at that time.
This came during a period when the French government was formed as a cohabitation between left and right parties. Cousseran, linked to the Socialist Party, was therefore obliged to appoint Jean-Pierre Pochon of the Gaullist RPR as head of the Intelligence Directorate. Being conscious of the political nature of the appointment, and wanting to steer around Pochon, Cousseron placed one of his friends in a top job under Pochon. Alain Chouet, a specialist in terrorism, especially Algerian and Iranian networks, took over as chief of the Security Intelligence Service. He had been on post in Damascus at a time when Cousseran was France's ambassador to Syria. Chouet began writing reports to Cousseran that by-passed his immediate superior, Pochon.
Politics eventually took precedence over DGSE's intelligence function. Instead of informing the president's staff of reports directly concerning President Chirac, Cousseran informed only Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin, who was going to run against Chirac in the 2002 presidential election. Pochon learned of the maneuvers only in March 2002 and informed Chirac's circle of the episode. He then had a furious argument with Cousseran and was informally told he wasn't wanted around the agency anymore. Pochon nonetheless remained Director of Intelligence, though he no longer turned up for work. He remained "ostracized" until the arrival of a new DGSE director, Pierre Brochand, in August 2002.
The DGSE includes the following services:
In partnership with the Direction du renseignement militaire, DRM (Directorate of Military Intelligence) and with considerable support from the Army in particular, and from the Air Force and the Navy to lesser extent, the DGSE is responsible for electronic spying abroad. Historically the Ministry of Defence in general has always been much interested in telecommunications interception. In the early 1880s a partnership between the Post Office (also in charge of all national telegraphic communications) and the Army gave birth to an important military telegraphy unit of more than 600 men; it settled in the Fort of the Mont Valérien near Paris. In 1888, the military settled the first service of telecommunications interception and deciphering in the Hôtel des Invalides, Paris—where it is still active today as an independent intelligence agency secretly created in 1959 under the name Groupement Interministériel de Contrôle or GIC (Inter-ministerial Control Group).
In 1910, the military unit of the Mont Valérien grew up with the creation of a wireless telecommunication station, and three years later it transformed into a regiment of about 1000 men. Anecdotally, government domestic Internet tapping and its best specialists are still located in the same area today (in underground facilities in Taverny and surroundings), though unofficially and not only. At about the same time, the Army and the Navy created several "listening stations" in the region of the Mediterranean Sea, and they began to intercept the coded wireless communications of the British and Spanish navies. It was the first joint use of wireless telegraphy and Cryptanalysis in the search for intelligence of military interest.
In the 1970s, the SDECE considerably developed its technical capacities in code-breaking, notably with the acquisition of a supercomputer Cray. In the 1980s, the DGSE heavily invested in satellite telecommunications interception, and created several satellite listening stations in France and overseas. The department of this agency responsible for telecommunications interception was anonymously called Direction Technique (Technical Directorate). But in the early 1990s the DGSE was alarmed by a steady and important decrease of its foreign telecommunication interception and gathering, as telecommunication by submarine cables was supplanting satellites. At that time the DGSE was using Silicon Graphics computers for code-breaking while simultaneously asking Groupe Bull computers to develop French-made supercomputers. Until then, the DGSE had been sheltering its computers and was carrying code-breaking 100 feet underground its headquarters of Boulevard Mortier, lest of foreign electronic spying and possible jamming. But this underground facility quickly became too small and poorly practical. That is why from 1987 to 1990 important works were carried on in the underground of the Taverny Air Base, whose goal was to secretly build a large communication deciphering and computer analysis center then called Centre de Transmission et de Traitement de l'Information, CTTI (Transmission and Information Processing Center). The CTTI was the direct ancestor of the Pôle National de Cryptanalyse et de Décryptement–PNCD (National Branch of Cryptanalysis and Decryption), launched to fit a new policy of intelligence sharing between agencies called Mutualisation du Renseignement (Intelligence Pooling). Once the work was finished, the huge underground of the former Taverny Air base, located in Taverny a few miles northeast of Paris, sheltered the largest Faraday cage in Europe (for protection against leaks of radio electric waves (see also Tempest (codename) for technical explanations) and possible EMP, attacks (see Nuclear electromagnetic pulse for technical explanations), with supercomputers working 24/7 on processing submarine cable telecommunications interception and signal deciphering. The Taverny underground facility also has a sister base located in Mutzig, also settled underground, which officially is sheltering the 44e Régiment de Transmissions, 44e RT (44th Signal Regiment). For today more than ever, signal regiments of the French Army still carries on civilian telecommunication interceptions under the pretense of training and military exercises in electronic warfare in peacetime. The DGSE otherwise enjoys the technical cooperation of the French companies Orange S.A. (which also provides cover activities to the staff of the Technical Directorate of the DGSE), and Alcatel-Lucent for its know-how in optical cable interception.
Allegedly, in 2007-2008 State Councilor Jean-Claude Mallet advised newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy to invest urgently in submarine cable tapping, and in computer capacities to automatically collect and decipher optical data. This was undertaken in the early 2000s. Mallet planned the installation of a new computer system to break codes. Officially, this enormous foreign intelligence program began in 2008, and it was all set in 2013. Its cost would have amounted 700 million euros, and resulted in a first hiring of about 600 new DGSE employees, all highly skilled specialists in related fields. Since then the DGSE is constantly expending its staff of specialists in cryptanalysis, decryption and signal and computer engineers. For in 2018 about 90% of world trade is no longer going through satellites, but submarine fiber-optic cables drawn between continents. And the Technical Directorate of the DGSE mainly targets intelligence of financial and economic natures.
Remarkably, the DGSE, along with the DRM with which it works closely, have established together a partnership in telecommunication interception with its German counterpart the BND (the Technische Aufklärung, or Technical Directorate of this agency more particularly), and with an important support from the French Army with regard to infrastructures and means and staff. Thanks to its close partnership with the DRM, the DGSE also enjoys the service of the large spy ship French ship Dupuy de Lôme (A759), which entered the service of the French Navy in April 2006. The DGSE and the DRM since long also have a special agreement in intelligence with the United Arab Emirates, thanks to which these agencies share with the German BND a COMINT station located in the Al Dhafra Air Base 101. The DGSE also enjoys a partnership in intelligence activities with the National Intelligence Agency (South Africa).
Today the French intelligence community would rank second in the world behind the U.S. National Security Agency in capacities of telecommunication interceptions worldwide.
The action division (Division Action) is responsible for planning and performing clandestine operations. It also fulfills other security-related operations such as testing the security of nuclear power plants (as it was revealed in Le Canard Enchaîné in 1990) and military facilities such as the submarine base of the Île Longue, Bretagne. The division's headquarters are located at the fort of Noisy-le-Sec. As the DGSE has a close partnership with the "Commandement des Opérations Spéciales" of the Army or COS (Special Operations Command), the Action Division selects most of its men in regiments of this military organization, the 1er Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine, 1er R.P.I.Ma (1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment) and the 13e Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes, 13e RDP (13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment) in particular. But, in general, a large number of DGSE executives and staffers under military statuses, and also of operatives first enlisted in one of these two last regiments, and also in the past in the 11e régiment parachutiste de choc , 11e RPC (11th Shock Parachute Regiment), colloquially called "11e Choc," and in the 1er Bataillon Parachutiste de Choc, 1er BPC (1st Shock Parachute Battalion), colloquially called "1er Choc."
The DGSE headquarters, codenamed CAT (Centre Administratif des Tourelles), are located at 141 Boulevard Mortier in the 20th arrondissement in Paris, approximately 1 km northeast of the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The building is often referred to as La piscine ("the swimming pool") because of the nearby Piscine des Tourelles of the French Swimming Federation.
A project named "Fort 2000" was supposed to allow the DGSE headquarters to be moved to the fort of Noisy-le-Sec, where the Action Division and the Service Technique d'Appui or "STA" (Technical and Support Service) were already stationed. However, the project was often disturbed and interrupted due to lacking funds, which were not granted until the 1994 and 1995 defence budgets. The allowed budget passed from 2 billion francs to one billion, and as the local workers and inhabitants started opposing the project, it was eventually canceled in 1996. The DGSE instead received additional premises located in front of the Piscine des Tourelles, and a new policy called "Privatisation des Services" (Privatization of the Services) was set. Roughly speaking, the Privatization of the Services consists for the DGSE in creating on the French territory numerous private companies of varied sizes, each being used as cover activity for specialized intelligence cells and units. This policy allows to turn round the problem of heavily investing in the building of large and highly secured facilities, and also of public and parliamentary scrutinies. This method is not entirely new however, since in 1945 the DGER, ancestor of the DGSE, owned 123 anonymous buildings, houses and apartments in addition to the military barracks of Boulevard Mortier serving already as headquarters. And this dispersion of premises began very early at the time of the Deuxième Bureau, and more particularly from the 1910s on, when intelligence activities carried on under the responsibility of the military knew a strong and steady rise in France.
The DGSE's budget is entirely official (it is voted upon and accepted by the French parliament). It generally consists of about €500M, in addition to which are added special funds from the Prime Minister (often used in order to finance certain operations of the Action Division). How these special funds are spent has always been kept secret.
Some known yearly budgets include:
According to Claude Silberzahn, one of its former directors, the agency's budget is divided in the following manner:[ citation needed ]
As of 18 July 2012 the organisation had inaugurated its current logo. The bird of prey represents the sovereignty, operational capacities, international operational nature, and the efficiency of the DGSE. France is depicted as a sanctuary in the logo. The lines depict the networks utilized by the DGSE.
Various tasks and roles are generally appointed to the DGSE:
Essentially, influence, disinformation, and propaganda are about lying and swelling truths, whereas active measures consists in making yourself the lie in order to transforming it in a truth, hard to question therefore since thus the lie becomes a tangible reality. That is why and how actives measures go much farther than mere deception and disinformation.
To put it otherwise, the Russians of after 1991 resumed these interpretation and perception I just explained, but with a new approach defined and shaped entirely by actives measures, precisely. That is to say, a political and ideological commitment in which the formal aims and the real aims merge and coexist permanently to make one, so that their designers and practitioners themselves are compelled to believe the former in order to reach an unique goal. The Westerner would certainly calls this ʻdoublethink,ʼ which is one more step past the classic doubletalk of the average politician who does not practice active measures. In short, under the doctrine of active measures, the liar must believe his own lies, indeed, to reach the real aims, and he must ignore all contradiction between the two.
Actives measures are complementary to a security service in a government, or to a quality department in a company. They intervene at all levels of an organization to help it disguise everything it is doing, not to let others understanding how it is done and why it is done, exactly.
In other chapters of his book, Dominique Poirier exemplifies how actives measures thus apply with a number of cases of deception operations and misinformation, all executed by the DGSE alone or jointly with the Direction de la surveillance du territoire DST (former name of the General Directorate for Internal Security DGSI, French counterintelligence agency) and even with Russia, from 1981 to 2002.
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|Name(s)||Status and known actions|
|Marc Aubrière||An officer who was kidnapped by Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia in 2009 and managed to escape.|
|Denis Allex||An officer who was kidnapped by Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia in 2009. He was killed on January 11, 2013 by the militants during a failed rescue attempt.|
|Guillaume Didier||An officer of the Action Division who disappeared in 2003 following the failure of a DGSE operation in Morocco.|
|Philippe de Dieuleveult||A supposed DGSE agent who mysteriously disappeared during an expedition in Zaire in 1985.|
|Hervé Jaubert||A former French navy officer and DGSE agent who moved to Dubai in 2004 to build recreational submarines. Following allegations of fraud, his passport was confiscated in 2008. Jaubert escaped on a dinghy to India and resurfaced in Florida in the U.S. where he filed a lawsuit against Dubai World.[ citation needed ]|
|Roland Verge||Chief Petty Officer involved in the Rainbow Warrior operation, arrested in Australia, escaped by French submarine|
|Gérard Andries||Petty Officer involved in the Rainbow Warrior operation, arrested in Australia, escaped by French submarine|
|Bartelo||Petty Officer involved in the Rainbow Warrior operation, arrested in Australia, escaped by French submarine|
|Louis-Pierre Dillais||Commander of the Rainbow Warrior operation, as acknowledged on New Zealand television|
|Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur||Two DGSE officers who took part to the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and who were subsequently arrested by New Zealand police.|
|Xavier Maniguet||A former DGSE agent who also took part in the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.|
|Pierre Martinet||A former DGSE agent, who retired after having his cover blown while watching Islamist militants in London. Martinet later wrote a book uncovering details of how the DGSE planned its assassination of political targets. He was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison for divulging defence secrets.|
|Bernard Nut||A French army officer and DGSE agent responsible for actions conducted in the Côte d'Azur and Middle East regions, and whose assassination in 1985 made headlines in French media.|
|Philippe Rondot||A retired French army general and former councilor in charge of coordinating foreign intelligence for the French ministry of defence.|
|Gérard Royal||A former DGSE agent accused of being a Rainbow Warrior bomber and brother of French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal.|
The Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire was a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency. It was responsible for counterespionage, counterterrorism and more generally the security of France against foreign threats and interference. It was created in 1944 with its headquarters situated at 7 rue Nélaton in Paris. On 1 July 2008, it was merged with the Direction centrale des renseignements généraux into the new Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur.
The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, abbreviated SDECE, was France's external intelligence agency from 6 November 1944 to 2 April 1982, when it was replaced by the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE). It should not be confused with the Deuxième Bureau which was intended to pursue purely military intelligence.
The Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation or SVR RF is Russia's external intelligence agency, focusing mainly on civilian affairs. The SVR RF succeeded the First Chief Directorate (PGU) of the KGB in December 1991. The SVR has its headquarters in the Yasenevo District of Moscow.
Active measures is a term for the actions of political warfare conducted by the Soviet and Russian security services to influence the course of world events, in addition to collecting intelligence and producing "politically correct" assessments of it. Active measures range "from media manipulations to special actions involving various degrees of violence". Beginning in the 1920s, they were used both abroad and domestically. They included disinformation, propaganda, counterfeiting official documents, assassinations, and political repression, such as penetration into churches, and persecution of political dissidents.
Subversion refers to a process by which the values and principles of a system in place are contradicted or reversed, in an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, hierarchy, and social norms. Subversion can be described as an attack on the public morale and, "the will to resist intervention are the products of combined political and social or class loyalties which are usually attached to national symbols. Following penetration, and parallel with the forced disintegration of political and social institutions of the state, these loyalties may be detached and transferred to the political or ideological cause of the aggressor". Subversion is used as a tool to achieve political goals because it generally carries less risk, cost, and difficulty as opposed to open belligerency. Furthermore, it is a relatively cheap form of warfare that does not require large amounts of training. A subversive is something or someone carrying the potential for some degree of subversion. In this context, a "subversive" is sometimes called a "traitor" with respect to the government in power.
The Direction Centrale des Renseignements Généraux, often called Renseignements Généraux (RG), was the intelligence service of the French police, answerable to the Direction Générale de la Police Nationale (DGPN), and, ultimately, the Ministry of the Interior. It was also in charge of the monitoring of gambling places and horse racing ranges.
Philippe Rondot was a French general, formerly an important personality of the French intelligence. He worked for both the domestic intelligence DST and the foreign intelligence DGSE and was an aide to several Defence Ministers.
The Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action, abbreviated BCRA, was the World War II-era forerunner of the SDECE, the French intelligence service. The BCRA was created by the Free French chief-of-staff in 1940, and it was commanded by Major André Dewavrin, who had taken the nom de guerre, "Colonel Passy".
The Deuxième Bureau de l'État-major général was France's external military intelligence agency from 1871 to 1940. It was dissolved together with the Third Republic upon the armistice with Germany. However the term "Deuxième Bureau", like "MI5" or "SMERSH", outlived the original organization as a general label for the country's intelligence service.
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The General Directorate for Internal Security is a French security agency. It is charged with counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, countering cybercrime and surveillance of potentially threatening groups, organisations, and social phenomena.
After the end of World War II, all the Western allies began a rapid drawdown of military forces, including those of signals intelligence. At the time, the US still had a COMINT organization split between the Army and Navy. A 1946 plan listed Russia, China, and a [redacted] country as high-priority targets.
The Swiss intelligence community is a group of agencies with responsibilities to protect the interests and infrastructure of Switzerland.
DPSD is the abbreviation of Direction de la Protection et de la Sécurité de la Défense, a French security agency which is part of the Ministry of Defence.
The Action Division, commonly known by its predecessor's title Action Service is a division of France's Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) responsible for planning and performing clandestine and covert operations including black operations. The core specialisations of the Action Division are sabotage, destruction of materiel, assassination, detaining/kidnapping, infiltration/exfiltration of persons into/from hostile territory and hostage rescue.
Pierre Marion was a French senior official, who was the first director of the Directorate-General for External Security from 1981 to 1982, and its predecessor, the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE).
Lustre is the codename of a secret treaty signed by France and the Five Eyes (FVEY) for cooperation in signals intelligence and for mutual data exchange between their respective intelligence agencies. Its existence was revealed during the 2013 global surveillance disclosure based on documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The Martel affair, sometimes known as the Sapphire affair, was a spy scandal that took place in France in early 1962. It involved information provided by former high-ranking member of the KGB, Anatoliy Golitsyn, who defected to the United States in December 1961. Golitsyn stated that the Soviets had agents placed throughout French military intelligence and even within Charles de Gaulle's cabinet. He claimed that these agents had access to any NATO document on demand.
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