Crackdown On Terrorism Is Political Rhetoric From French Government

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — As someone now apparently living a guerrilla terror war zone, I awoke Wednesday morning to the news that about 4 miles away from my home, a jihadist suicide bomber had blown herself up during a French police raid that came in the wake of ISIS’ coordinated attacks.

Several reports say the raid also killed the mastermind of the plot that killed 129 people and injured 352 others. The attackers have thus far been identified as French citizens, as well as a Syrian who is reported to have come in with the recent wave of migrants into Europe from the Middle East.

The impression abroad may be that the French government is cracking down hard, but until I see actual evidence of the threat being effectively eliminated, I’m not buying the political rhetoric that’s being peddled to placate the masses in this time of distress.

This year included the massacre of employees at the Paris headquarters of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and an attempted massacre of passengers on a high-speed train that was thwarted by heroic American passengers.

Some of the nation’s attackers had already been identified by French intelligence services as “Fiche S” or “S File” individuals — labeled by the state as “persons being investigated to prevent serious threats to public safety or security of the state, since information or solid evidence has been collected on them.”

So what was the government doing about these “Fiche S” people, who number about 11,000, according to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy? Not much beyond monitoring them — which can’t mean much in terms of effectiveness when, as France’s La Tribune reported just a couple of years ago, French domestic intelligence service had a workforce of barely more than 3,000.

When you have a metastasizing cancer, you don’t rely on “monitoring” — you eliminate it. The French government should find a way to charge, convict, and then incarcerate or deport this threat. Of course, there are those who feel that such measures are extreme, an infringement of civil rights. They aren’t living in a city where deciding which cafe to visit has turned into a game of Russian roulette.

Most of us are just waiting for the next attack. The best hope that we have is for the government to change the law to remove the known threats from circulation, to stop importing more risk, and to quit acting like it’s some kind of extremist political position to effectively protect its own citizens and with more than just rhetorical platitudes.