Failure to Stop Paris Attacks Reveals Fatal Flaws at Heart of European Security

By Published on November 29, 2015

To carry out the attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris this month, the killers relied on a cunning awareness of the weaknesses at the heart of the European security services charged with stopping them.

Poor information-sharing among intelligence agencies, a threadbare system for tracking suspects across open borders and an unmanageably long list of homegrown extremists to monitor all gave the Paris plotters an opening to carry out the deadliest attack on French soil in more than half a century.

Two weeks later, European security experts say the flaws in the continent’s defenses are as conspicuous as ever, with no clear plan for fixing them.

“We lack the most obvious tools to deal with this threat,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, chairman of the Paris-based Center for the Analysis of Terrorism. “We’re blind.”

With the Syrian war raging on the continent’s doorstep and thousands of Europe’s own citizens traveling to and from the battlefield under the influence of a spellbindingly effective propaganda campaign, Brisard’s bleak assessment is widely shared.

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