Mickaël Harpon, when politics gravely damages French intelligence

Opinions expressed below are solely those of its author.

Mix politics and intelligence, and you get a recipe for disaster; add political correctness (PC) and you deprive any country of its national security. French intelligence agencies count among the most effective in the world and their expertise in counterterrorism (CT) is sought by many counterparts.

Within just a decade, and despite the exemplary abnegation of its intelligence personnel, they were undermined from within by regular political interference of elected but incompetent officials on such topics and by submission to political correctness that has grown up to the point that it is compromising the secrecy of gathered intelligence and the whole CT apparatus.

While in 2005 anyone who showed any inappropriate behavior would have been suspended or sacked immediately, in 2019 an individual like Mickaël Harpon, yet pinpointed for several years as a potential threat, has not only kept his job inside the intelligence department of Paris’ police headquarters but ended up murdering four colleagues in what looks like a premeditated Islamist terrorist attack.

Worse, the same individual was assigned to the IT service through which pass confidential data, raising today a legitimate concern among the police officers, agents and contractors of intelligence agencies with regard to their identity and their personal and nominative data.

This attack at the core of the French apparatus is an issue of mainly political nature since it results directly from the injunction made to intelligence agencies by politicians to comply with a specific political line that has erected political correctness, acceptance of the unacceptable and application of the inapplicable as prerequisites of a national security policy that has greatly deteriorated since the French government clearly ignores who comes in and out of its own territory.

Also, many of the most experienced officials left agencies in recent years for a well-deserved retirement, however in private many tell their distress about the harmful political interference and the blindness of politicians about the security situation, a finding widely shared among these retirees in Europe as in the United States. Mickaël Harpon and his acts require a review of all clearances, the sacking of any personnel with inappropriate behavior, and the end of any political interference in intelligence and counterterrorism.

Apolitical and driven by an obligation of result, intelligence agencies are at the service of the French people’s safety and have nothing to do with the political utopia of those who think that sheltering the wolf in the sheepfold will help tame it. National Security requires secrecy, efficiency, realism; the elected officials would render a better service to their country by no longer meddling with it.

If political correctness pleases mainstream media and Hollywood-like liberals, it has absolutely no place within national security because the latter has no political vocation and has only one and only goal: protecting the People, indiscriminately.