France tight-lipped about joint spy base report

5th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 4 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie refused to confirm or deny Monday a report that a secret intelligence base in Paris manned by French, US and other officers was serving as a planning unit to stage joint anti-terrorist operations.

PARIS, July 4 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie refused to confirm or deny Monday a report that a secret intelligence base in Paris manned by French, US and other officers was serving as a planning unit to stage joint anti-terrorist operations.

"What is true is that we have joint activities with the United States especially in the fight against terrorism," Alliot-Marie told the LCI television network, without elaborating.

An article in the Washington Post said that a top-secret centre code-named Alliance Base had existed in the French capital since 2002 and involved teams of French, US, Canadian, British, German and Australian intelligence officers working together under the command of a French general.

Alliot-Marie said the report contained "some real things and some fantastical things," and added: "I can confirm that there is very intense cooperation in the fight against terrorism, particularly with the United States."

An expert at the French Centre for Intelligence Research (CF2R), Eric Denece, told AFP he believed it "plausible" that such a centre existed, and noted that the CIA and its French counterpart, the DGSE, have always had close relations.

The US intelligence services appreciated France's knowledge of the Arab world derived in part from its historic links to former north African colonies.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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