Paris police failed to circulate note about terror plot days before attack
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Paris police failed to pass on a note to the country’s internal intelligence agency about a group of six people preparing a major terror attack on the capital just 10 days before Friday’s devastating attacks, it emerged on Tuesday.
The note came from the intelligence unit of the Paris police prefecture and was written in early November, according to two separate sources who spoke to FRANCE 24’s Antoine Mariotti. The intelligence report mentions a group of six people living in the 18th arrondissement in the northern part of the French capital, as well as a Syrian national trafficking in fake Syrian passports. They were reportedly working on “something big,” suggesting a spectacular attack.
French investigators found a forged Syrian passport at the scene of one of several suicide bombings near the Stade de France and believe that one Syrian national might have been involved in the November 13 attacks. However, there is no information regarding the presence of any of the six people mentioned in the note among the terrorists responsible for Friday's attacks.
Police are now wondering why the note was not passed on to France’s internal intelligence agency, the DGSI. Sources told FRANCE 24 they felt "uneasy" about "troubling elements" in the note.
French security expert Charles Pelligrini told FRANCE 24 that “maybe the DRPP [Paris police prefecture’s intelligence unit] wanted more time to investigate” the group.
“Perhaps the terrorism unit [within the Paris prefecture] found that there was no merit to it, or perhaps there was human error involved,” said FRANCE 24’s Markus Karlsson.
The potential intelligence lapse comes months after France adopted a new law granting the state sweeping surveillance powers, dubbed "the French Patriot Act".