Security ministers from Europe, Canada and the United States met in the French capital on Sunday to seek a joint response to the threat of jihadist attacks. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported from Paris.
World leaders attend emergency security meeting in ParisSecurity ministers from Europe, Canada and the United States met in the French capital on Sunday to seek a joint response to the threat of jihadist attacks. CCTV's Jack Barton reported from Paris.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the first to arrive at the French interior ministry in the capital Paris where 17 people were killed during the week by three gunmen before they too were shot dead.
“I certainly think that we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks, who would corrupt the Islamic faith in the way that they do, to try to justify their terrorist actions, so that’s who we are at war with. We are determined to take the fight to them and to prevent them from engaging in these kinds of activities. Our president has indicated that we will be calling on Feb. 18th a summit, so that we deal with better ways in which we can counter violent extremism and really get at the core,” Holder said.
European ministers soon arrived at the meeting convened by France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who coordinated the response to the series of attacks and hostage-takings by the three French Islamist gunmen.
The meeting was held just before French people, in fact, people from all around the world and all walks of life, took to the streets of Paris to send a clear message denouncing violent extremism.
About 40 world leaders joined the march to show solidarity.
At the meeting, officials from both sides of the Atlantic said they focused on addressing terrorist threats, foreign fighters and countering extremism.
“In this regard, we need to be even better at exchanging among ourselves of information we have on foreign fighters, but also on networks of organized terrorist channels. We are already doing this. We are engaged in reinforcing our cooperation around this meeting,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
France’s foreign minister has admitted to shortcomings in the surveillance of the gunmen, who were known Muslim radicals with criminal records.
Questions have been raised as to how the killers managed to, not just coordinate and launch attacks, but to amass an arsenal of automatic weapons and explosives.
On Sunday, the German newspaper Bild reported that U.S. intelligence had intercepted communications between Islamic State leaders who said the attacks in France were just the prelude for a wave of Islamist violence across Europe.
Debates on benefits of mass government surveillance programs
As information is revealed about what various governments knew of the terrorists, the U.S. intelligence community reminds the public that mass surveillance has its value. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported from Washington, D.C.
Debates on benefits of mass government surveillance programsAs information is revealed about what various governments knew of the terrorists, the U.S. intelligence community reminds the public that mass surveillance has its value. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reported from Washington, D.C.
In October 2013, the Le Monde newspaper reported the U.S. had collected more than 70 million French telephone records and texts, known as metadata in the intelligence community. French President Francois Hollande called on the Americans to immediately stop what he called unacceptable behavior between partners and allies.
The Wall Street Journal later reported it was not the National Security Agency but France and other European intelligence services which had obtained the information and turned it over to the U.S.
Nonetheless, when President Hollande arrived at the White House for a state visit in February 2014, resolving the NSA spying episode was top of his agenda.
“President Obama and myself have clarified the past. We have discussed a cooperation to fight against terrorism, but we also wanted to meet a number of principles. We are making headway in this cooperation. Mutual trust has been restored,” Hollande said.
Obama ultimately decided to curb the bulk data collection program in early 2014.
Fast forward to the murder of 12 during an attack at the Paris headquarters of a satirical magazine. The two suspects, Cherif Kouachi and his brother Said, were both on U.S. no-fly lists and that information was shared with the FBI and other governments.
In the hours after the attacks, former American intelligence officials who supported metadata collection and did not want it curbed, claimed the practice could help the investigation.
Former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers said new U.S. government restrictions on mass data collection will make things more difficult.
“Unfortunately, it’s been changed, so it will take a little longer to get to that metadata. That info won’t come from the French necessarily. The thing that the FBI can show is we know by that name, an individual of that name, who may have been in contact with another somebody that we’ve identified to be a terrorist who’s also associated with these 3-4 different people. That can be invaluable to the investigation,” Rogers said.
An investigation was conducted not only into the Kouachi brothers who were dead in a police shootout, but a related investigation into a known associate, Amedi Coulibaly. He allegedly killed a police woman after Thursday’s magazine attack and took more than a dozen hostages at a Kosher grocery store on Friday. Coulibaly died when police stormed the market. French officials said he had killed four of the 12 hostages before the police assault started.
In an ironic twist in the metadata debate, according to French media, it was an open phone line that led police to know when to raid that grocery store in a rescue of those hostages.
Chinese-French survivor tells of his encounter
Finally, a sense of calm has returned to the French capital, after a three-day manhunt for two suspects who attacked the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, ended on Friday. But many in France and around the world were still reeling from the onslaught. Among them is a Chinese-French man, who at one point came face to face with the two gunmen, and survived to tell the story. CCTV’s Wu Haojun reported.
Chinese-French survivor tells of his encounterFinally, a sense of calm has returned to the French capital, after a three-day manhunt for two suspects who attacked the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, ended on Friday. But many in France and around the world were still reeling from the onslaught. Among them is a Chinese-French man, who at one point came face to face with the two gunmen, and survived to tell the story. CCTV's Wu Haojun reported.
Analyst Margaret Gilmore discusses tracking down terrorists
For a closer look at why it can be difficult to track down terrorists despite technology, CCTV America interviewed Margaret Gilmore, who is an analyst specializes in national security in the U.K. and government policy on counter-terrorism.