At the forefront of the military operation in Mali, France has according to several experts information American drones and satellites, in addition to its own intelligence capabilities, which are one of keys to success. Bilateral exchanges of human intelligence (agents) and techniques (tapping, imagery …) for ages, the military intelligence and French civilians maintain ongoing relationships but with the utmost discretion their American and European counterparts.
In this case, between the DIA (Defense intelligence agency, intelligence agency of the U.S. defense) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM, France) and from the American CIA and the sprawling NSA (National security agency, tapping U.S.) on the one hand and the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) and the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI) on the other.” Exchange of information on the Franco-American Mali have increased the beginning of the occupation of the north of the country by armed Islamist groups, “said Eric Denécé, director of the French Centre for Research on Intelligence (CF2R).
Since the establishment in 2008 of the U.S. military command for Africa (Africom ) continues this specialist, the Americans have deployed some 5,000 troops, drones, reconnaissance aircraft and listening stations throughout Africa, including the Sahel. Under the plan “Tusker Sand” services U.S. intelligence have entire regions of Africa under the supervision of small Pilatus aircraft, packed with electronics. “panacea of hunting 4×4 armed Islamist groups, this is the video of U.S. drone,” explains under anonymous former head of a French intelligence service.
According to him, the Americans implement strategic drones from Djibouti Hale (High Altitude Long Endurance), a battery life of 24 hours and can travel several thousands of miles. This type of drone, which France does not have is “ideal to seek a convoy of pick-up systematically combing an area that can not do reconnaissance aircraft or satellites.” Images, videos and collected by tapping these drones are instantly sent through the network of powerful satellite transmissions, to analysis centers America.
Americans, says the former manager, also have a “vast network of satellites and listening ‘spy planes that capture and decrypt the conversations transmitted by satellite phones armed Islamist groups. “ But they “know they are listened to and observed maximum radio silence, same amount of deception operations + + (deception) in emitting with their satellite phones to hundreds of kilometers from their actual operations. “
At a lower level, recall the two specialists, France can also count on the commodity exchanges images with Italy and Germany. German military exploit a strategic five-satellite SAR-Lupe radar. “And, says the former head of intelligence, as the Malian army will deploy in the north of the country, France have a level of human intelligence more so. “