Was Toulouse killer a police informant?
Based on comments by the head of the French internal security service, there is speculation in the Italian and French regional press that the Toulouse gunman was a police informer.
Bernard Squarcini, head of the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI), took the unusual step of intervening personally to quash speculation that Mohamed Merah, 23, was an indic or “snout” for one of his own agents in Toulouse. The day after Mohamed Merah was shot while resisting arrest, Mr Squarcini told Le Monde that the killer had asked, during his 32-hour siege, to speak to a Toulouse-based officer in his agency [with whom] Merah appeared to have a friendly relationship.
In an interview with the Toulouse paper La Dépêche du Midi, a former security chief, Yves Bonnet, said it was “striking” that Merah seemed to have a DCRI “handler”. “Having a handler, that is not an innocent thing,” he said. “I don’t know how far his relationship, or collaboration, with the service went but it is a question worth raising.” (Mr Bonnet was head of the counter-espionage service, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST), from 1982 to 1985.)
An Italian paper, Il Foglio, citing “intelligence sources”, said Merah travelled to Israel in September 2010 using cover provided by the French external espionage service, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE).
A spokesman for the DGSE, the French equivalent of MI6, dismissed the report as “grotesque”.
[Excerpts from The Independent]