The French are denying this now, but Merah does seem to have told an agent that he had some tips for her, but was actually going to kill her. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Merah had been giving information to French intelligence agents. After all, before his murders he was a moderate, right? And the French are no better than any other Western country in even making an attempt to distinguish “extremists” from “moderates” — like everyone else, they just assume that all Muslims are moderate, without even bothering to define exactly what that term means.
“Was Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah an informant for French spies?,” by Alastair Jamieson for MSNBC, March 29 (thanks to Kenneth):
Mohamed Merah, the gunman who killed seven people including three Jewish children, may have been an informant for France’s intelligence services, according to reports that raise further questions about whether authorities missed chances to prevent the attacks….
Bernard Squarcini, head of the agency, was quoted by French newspaper Le Monde as saying Merah asked for a local DCRI agent by name while he was holed-up in the apartment surrounded by police.
Squarcini told Le Monde that Merah shocked the female agent by saying: “Anyway, I was going to call you to say I had some tip-offs for you, but actually I was going to [kill] you.”
Merah, who told police he had been inspired to commit his attacks by al-Qaida, used the French word “fumer”, which means “to smoke,” which is a slang term that also means to “murder” or “waste.”
Squarcini’s remarks to Le Monde were reported in other French media, including Liberation and Le Figaro.
Yves Bonnet, former head of an intelligence agency that was merged with DCRI in 2008, told Toulouse newspaper La DÃ©pÃªche du Midi that it was significant that Merah appeared to have a regular contact at the DCRI. “Having a contact is not totally innocent,” he told the newspaper. “This is not trivial.”
Italian newspaper Il Foglio said Merah’s trip to Israel and Afghanistan in September 2010 was made with the knowledge of the French foreign secret service, the Direction GÃ©nÃ©rale de la SÃ©curitÃ© ExtÃ©rieure. However, London’s Independent newspaper quoted a spokesman for the agency as dismissing that report as “grotesque”.
Squarcini has since insisted Merah was not helping authorities, telling Liberation the gunman was not “an informer for the DCRI or any other French or foreign services.”…