After terror attacks, push for better, more centralized intelligence agencies in Europe

America Abroad
A Belgian soldier

There has been a familiar refrain, criticizing intelligence and security agencies in Europe after recent terrorist attacks. After the bombings in Paris and Brussels, the Nice truck attack and even Tuesday morning's attack on a parish church in northern France, observers have wondered why intelligence agencies weren’t able to better coordinate and ultimately act to prevent the tragedies before they happened.

Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux and a likely presidential candidate, was one of many to criticize the Frence intelligence agencies in the wake of the tragedy in Nice.

“It is imperative that government intervene in this area to better coordinate our intelligence, to develop the territorial intelligence and better national intelligence,” he said.

The debate in France has mirrored the one in Belgium, where spy services faced even more intense criticism in March following the terrorist attacks on the Brussels airport and subway system that left 32 people dead and more than 300 injured. Intelligence officials discovered the perpetrators had either grown up or been living in Belgium and had become radicalized. Some had gone back and forth to Syria to fight and train with ISIS.

The cell was also linked to the Paris attacks in November 2015 that left 130 dead.

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