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DST - Directorate of Territorial Security
Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire

The Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (Directorate of Territorial Security) was the intelligence service of the French police, answerable to the Direction Générale de la Police Nationale (DGPN), and, ultimately, the Ministry of the Interior. It was resonsible for some of the duties covered in the UK by MI5 and Special Branch. The DST, which has no real US equivalent, descended from the political police of Napoléonic times. Once engaged in spying on leftists and other suspect groups, it now conducts election analysis, monitors hooligans and casinos, and, most importantly, collects information on the interconnected threats of Islamist extremism. organized crime. It was also in charge of the monitoring of gambling places and horse race tracks.

On July 1, 2008, the Direction de la surveillance du territoire was merged into the new Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur. Two of France's intelligence organizations, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST, Directorate of Territorial Security) and the Renseignements Généraux (RG, Central Directorate of General Information), merged into one agency, the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI, Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence), to better fight terrorism.

The DST was responsible for counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, and protection of the economic and scientific assets of France. The RG served as an information-gathering service for the government on a wide range of topics. It participated in the defense of the fundamental interests of France and supported the country's internal security missions. One of its sub-directorates, the Directorate of Research, centralized information concerning prevention and the fight against terrorism and watched groups that pose risks to the national security.

The aim of the reorganization is to strengthen the fight against terrorism by avoiding miscommunication and competition between the two services. The RG and DST were well known for their rivalry. The President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, a former Minister of the Interior, requested the reorganization. The new agency will have four directorates: counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, industrial espionage, and monitoring social unrest such as, for example, the 2005 youth riots.

In October 2011 President Nicolas Sarkozy took the unprecedented step of suing the former chief of the DST, pursuing his long, vicious quarrel with the clan of the former president, Jacques Chirac. The President accused Yves Bertrand, the former head of the Renseignements Generaux (RG), of "invasion of privacy, malicious accusation and forgery". This follows the publication of extracts from note-books kept by M. Bertrand between 1998 and 2003, which mingled private dentist's appointments and shopping lists with lurid rumours about the sexual and financial activities of French politicians, including M. Sarkozy. M. Bertrand, a protege of former President Chirac, was the head of the RG for 12 years from 1995.

Created in 1944 to "struggle against activities of espionage and against the activities of alien powers on territories under French sovereignty" the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance has undergone from the end of 1970s, an important evolution linked to the two phenomena:

  • the transformation in espionage activities from solely the military sector to economic domains, scientific and technical;
  • the appearance and the diversification of the terrorist threat.

Since the Eastern Bloc opened up, the DST has redeployed its operatives, previously working on the Soviets, and assigned them to new threats, the Israelis and the Americans in particular. Since 1992, counterespionage noted that members of the CIA were "approaching" senior civil servants.

The DST presently is administered as an internal security agency whose essential function is to search for information for security and to follow the uncertain and diversified evolution of patterns of the threat. Its headquarters has been situated at 1 rue Nélaton in Paris, since July 1985. In late August 1997, the French government appointed Jean- Jacques Pascal to head the DST. Pascal, who was in charge of the political intelligence unit -- the Renseignements Generaux -- between 1990 and 1992, took over from Philippe Parant who retired.

The detailed organization of the DST is covered by the secret defense classification. In general, schematically it includes:

  • In Paris, on central administration divided into 5 Sub-Directorates (counterespionage, safety and protection of the patrimony, international terrorism, technical administration and general administration) and a special office of national relationships and international;
  • In the provinces there are 7 regional Directorates, and several brigades and 4 posts installed in overseas terrritories.

The DST Economic Security and Protection of National Assets department has units in the 22 regions to protect French technology.. It has been operating for 20 years, not only on behalf of defense industry leaders, but also for pharmaceuticals, telecoms, the automobile industry, and all manufacturing and service sectors.

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Page last modified: 17-11-2015 14:43:02 ZULU