Viewing cable 06PARIS2242, VISIT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES FROM MARCH 1 TO
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|06PARIS2242||2006-04-05 15:03||2010-11-30 21:09||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Paris|
VZCZCXRO3289 RR RUEHAG RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHFR #2242/01 0951517 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 051517Z APR 06 FM AMEMBASSY PARIS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6002 RUEAWJA/DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHDC INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 002242 SIPDIS DOJ PLEASE PASS TO OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION (FRONT OFFICE, COUNTER-TERRORISM SECTION, OFFICE OF INTERNAT AFFAIRS) SIPDIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KJUS FR KJUS PREL PGOV KCRM PTER SUBJECT: VISIT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES FROM MARCH 1 TO 4, 2006. REF: NONE ¶1. (U) SUMMARY: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales traveled to France from March 1 to 4, 2006. He met with Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, Director of the DST; Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of the Interior; French Counter-terrorism Officials; Ron Noble, Secretary General of Interpol; Pascal Clement, Minister of Justice and a number of media and opinion maker representatives. The meetings were cordial and constructive and focused on counter-terrorism cooperation; with the Attorney General expressing appreciation to his counterparts for the excellent working relationship between France and the United States in this area; and his making a number of appearances with the media and opinion makers to explain to the French public the United States approach to combating terrorism. END SUMMARY. ¶2. (SBU) After a March 1 evening arrival, on March 2, the Attorney General met with Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, director of the DST, France's internal security service. Both the Attorney General and de Bousquet complimented US- French C/T cooperation, calling it "exceptional," and recognizing that both countries were fighting a common enemy, and both had experienced losses. France's C/T fight was led by intelligence agencies working in concert with the judiciary, said Bousquet. Although France did not pretend that its model could be applied elsewhere, it strongly believed that judiciary and police/intelligence services needed to cooperate closely in order to attack terrorist networks before they struck. ¶3. (SBU) In response to questions from the Attorney General concerning the DST's view of the evolving nature of the terrorist threat, de Bousquet expressed a concern that democracies not compromise their essential values in combating terrorism as this could weaken the foundation of their societies. Most important, said Bousquet, was to win the battle of communication. Videos of USG actions were a continuing source of motivation and repulsion for extremists. Although USG communication regarding terrorism was focused on convincing its citizens, images of abuses in Iraq and the messages of the USG as received overseas both rebounded negatively overseas and encouraged Muslim youth to join extremist movements, said Bousquet. ¶4. (SBU) Bousquet said France was most concerned about the worldwide upsurge of radical Islam. For this reason, the GOF was building a "French Islam" a moderate Islam that worked within the French culture. All those who refuse to participate in this system would have no place in French society, said Bousquet. He believed that the next generation of terrorists would be born and well-integrated into French society, since well-educated and integrated French Muslims were already beginning to be seen in jihadist circles. He called for continued close coordination between intelligence and police agencies, and asked that the Attorney General look into streamlining current procedure for passing telephone and Internet communication details based in the United States and needed for investigations in France. ¶5. (SBU) The Attorney General also met Minister of the Interior Sarkozy. Also present for the Ministry of the Interior were Diplomatic Advisor David Martinon, Legal Advisor Sylvie Smanniotto, and DST Director de Bousquet de Florian. Sarkozy complained that the Ministry of the Interior felt cooperation in terrorism matters with the United States were one sided. He declined to give further specifics Attorney General Gonzales stated that if Sarkozy had a specific complaint, he should feel free to call him directly. [Note: Subsequent discussion with de Bousquet and Sarkozy's staff yielded apologies and assurances that GOF-USG CT cooperation is, and is seen as, good.] ¶6. (SBU) Sarkozy also signaled that he was under pressure to remedy the current inability of France to produce biometric visas in conformity with recent U.S. legislation, so as to participate in the visa waiver program. [Note: Septel on recent biometric passport developments.] ¶7. (SBU) Sarkozy also discussed general geopolitical issues concerning France and the United States. He believed France should not be in an adversarial posture with the U.S. and should change its approach. The U.S. is an important friend and ally of France, the level of PARIS 00002242 002 OF 004 convergence of interest is much greater than with major non-democratic powers like Russia or China. While he was constrained by the current government's policies, he believed the situation would change after the election. He indicated he would travel to the U.S. to be able to tell the French public what his impressions were of the U.S. and that he would provide more detail on his positions as his run for the French presidency advanced. Sarkozy stated that France and the international community would have to help the United States resolve the situation in Iraq, as the U.S. could not do so alone; perhaps with international forces eventually replacing the U.S. ¶8. (SBU) On the morning of March 3, Ambassador Stapleton hosted a breakfast for the Attorney General and four key French counter-terrorism officials, counter-terrorism investigative judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, Prosecutor General of Paris Yves Bot, Prosecutor of Paris Jean-Claude Marin, and Director of the Criminal Division of the Justice Ministry Jean-Marie Huet. The Attorney General started the discussion by thanking the officials for their assistance and asked them for their assessment of the current counter- terrorism situation. Led by the commentaries of Judge Bruguiere, the officials noted the advantages they operated under, including their ability to protect the sources of intelligence information that they use in their investigations, the fact that they do not need to detail facts to the same extent as in the U.S. to arrest persons, or undertake searches and seizures or wiretaps, and the fact that there was no jury system, no formal rules on admissibility of evidence and no hearsay rule. There followed a general legal discussion on these aspects of the French system. ¶9. (SBU) Judge Bruguiere also outlined the two general threat trends France was experiencing: First, that French youth were being drawn into terrorist activities to a greater extent, reflecting that the threat was moving from East to West. Second, that the new terrorists were on an increasing level of sophistication and education. Recent arrests had demonstrated that highly educated electronics experts had been recruited by jihadist networks for purposes of executing attacks in Europe, and that they had developed highly sophisticated methods for detonating explosive charges at long distance. ¶10. (SBU) The Attorney General next met with Ron Noble, Secretary General of Interpol, on March 3. The discussion SIPDIS commenced with the Attorney General inquiring about the recent request for Interpol red notices made by Italy concerning the alleged abduction of an individual from Italy by USG officials. Noble advised that the procedure at this stage is for Interpol to review the requests to determine whether issuance of the red notices would be consistent with the Interpol Constitution, which prohibits Interpol from participating in political matters, or pursuing politically motivated requests. ¶11. (SBU) Noble also briefed the AG on a number of current issues, including a push to list with Interpol those al- Qaida and Taliban members on the UN sanctions list so that Interpol could generate a new kind of notice providing details on these persons to police in member states, and to facilitate wider contribution to and use of the Interpol database on lost or stolen passports. Regarding lost/stolen passports, a pilot project conducted between Interpol and the Swiss government demonstrated that the Interpol database could be used in real-time, leading to a marked increase in the seizures and prosecutions for those using false travel documents. He cited the example of one seized passport that had been in use since April 2003, had passed through 19 countries and had successfully gone through border controls 46 times without being caught. ¶12. (SBU) Noble requested that the Attorney General consider detailing a legal attach/prosecutor to Interpol headquarters, given the rise in legal issues in recent years. The Attorney General expressed concern that a DOJ prosecutor might have to address cases that would conceivably work against USG interests. Noble replied that the DOJ prosecutor would always have the option of recusing him/herself. ¶13. (U) Embassy Paris also organized three press events for Attorney General Gonzales on March 3: a print press PARIS 00002242 003 OF 004 roundtable, an interview with Radio France Internationale, and an interview with French all-news channel LCI-TV. Major French newspapers as well as wire services Agence France Presse, Reuters, and Associated Press, attended his print press roundtable. The AG took numerous questions on Guantanamo and detainee treatment. He explained the differences between treatment of detainees on a battlefield and prisoners in the criminal justice system and underscored that the U.S. treats detainees humanely and in accord with Geneva even if they do not come under the Geneva Convention since they are unlawful combatants. Wire reports quoted AG Gonzales as saying: "The relationship between French and U.S. law enforcement is outstanding," and, "Both countries share the common objective of preventing terrorist attacks." The press roundtable also triggered articles in center-left daily Libration (circulation: 158,086) and Catholic daily La Croix (circulation: 102,022). La Croix highlighted that, "Four years after 9/11, the determination of the U.S. government has not faltered when it comes to fighting against terror." ¶14. (U) Excerpts of his interview with the French worldwide broadcasting radio network Radio France Internationale (RFI-- similar to Voice of America) aired on March 3, and the interview was aired in full in RFI's weekly Wednesday, RFI English service program "Voices." In the radio interview, AG Gonzales was asked about the CIA flights controversy, and he emphasized that the U.S. is a nation of laws that respects its legal commitments. ¶15. (U) The all-news television network LCI featured the full interview in its "News of the World" program, which was re-broadcast three times the same evening. The Attorney General was asked about his visit to Paris, the use of death penalty in Texas when President Bush was governor -- AG referred to the due process of law accorded the prisoners, and the possible death penalty for Zacharias Moussaoui who, the AG said, has pleaded guilty and his sentence will be decided by the Court. ¶16. (SBU) The Attorney General met with French Justice Minister Pascal Clement on March 3. The two complimented U.S.-French cooperation as "very good" on terrorism and other legal matters. The Attorney General said Interior Minister Sarkozy had complained that counter-terrorism information sharing was not as robust as it could be, to which Clement responded that in his opinion, information sharing between U.S. and France was good. They compared notes on the different French and U.S. legal systems. The Attorney General reassured Clement that any information provided by France for the Moussaoui trial would not be used to support a death penalty conviction. He also invited Clement to the United States. Clement thanked the Attorney General and said he would be pleased to do so when their schedules permitted. ¶17. (SBU) Clement hailed the U.S. and France's mutual exchange of magistrates as a way to ward off any budding legal problems between the two countries. He said the lack of major problems to discuss was a fruit of this type of exchange. Clement asked the AG when the U.S. would ratify the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, noting that France had recently done so. The AG stated that he hoped we would be able to overcome final Senate objections soon and get the treaty ratified. They also discussed a number of other issues, including the sex offenses, and psychiatric testimony, child abduction cases, and growing illegal drug use. At the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers had a walk-out for the press, in which they delivered statements regarding the issues discussed. The Clement statement included mention of the assurance provided by the U.S. that the evidence provided by France in the Moussaoui case would not be used to obtain the death penalty. ¶18. (U) This visit provided a good opportunity for Attorney General Gonzales to both meet in depth key French law enforcement officials, express U.S. appreciation for the strong cooperative law enforcement relationship between the two countries, as well as to explain the French public through his interviews the United States approach to combating terrorism. Ambassador Stapleton accompanied the Attorney General to all of his meetings. The Attorney General departed on March 4, 2006, for other meetings in the United Kingdom. PARIS 00002242 004 OF 004 ¶19. (U) This message was approved by the Office of the Attorney General. STAPLETON