Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure

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FranceFrance Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure
- DGSE -
Coat of arms of the DGSE
Supervisory authority (s) French Ministry of Defense
Consist since April 2, 1982
Arose from SDECE
Headquarters 20th Arrondissement (Paris) , France
Coordinates 48 ° 52 '27.8 "  N , 2 ° 24' 25.2"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 52 '27.8 "  N , 2 ° 24' 25.2"  E
Directeur général Bernard Bajolet
Employee around 5,161
Budget volume 644.5 million euros (as of 2013)
Headquarters, boulevard Mortier
SIGINT plant in Domme , part of the Echelon program.

The Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure ( DGSE ; German General Directorate for External Security ) is the French foreign intelligence service . It was founded on April 2, 1982 as the successor organization to the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE), largely without any organizational or personnel changes. The tasks of the DGSE consist of espionage and counter-espionage outside the national territory. The DGSE is subordinate to the French Ministry of Defense . About 3,300 civilian employees and 1,500 military personnel , who are formally assigned to the 44th Infantry Regiment , work for the service .


On April 2, 1982, the DGSE was founded by decree number 82-306, thus continuing the actions of the foreign intelligence services that had preceded it. First there was an organization called the " Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action " (BCRA), something like "Central Office for Information and Actions", which General de Gaulle founded in exile in London in 1940 as an intelligence service for Free France . From this emerged the " Direction Générale des Services Spéciaux " (DGSS) and the " Direction Générale des Etudes et Recherches " (DGER) in German "General Directorate for Special Services " and "General Directorate for Studies and Research". At the beginning of the Cold War it was decided to dissolve the DGER and this was replaced by the newly created " Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage ", a counter-espionage service. The chairmanship was transferred to André Dewavrin , who was previously head of the BCRA. Eventually this service was replaced by the DGSE in April 1982. The decree with the number 2009-1657 (published on December 24, 2009) provides the incumbent head of state as the highest decision-making body.

Construction / structure

The headquarters of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure is located in the Mortier barracks in the 20th arrondissement in Paris .

The sections of the DGSE

  1. Strategy : analyzes information, evaluates it, handles inquiries from all authorized bodies; above all maintains close contact with the Foreign Ministry;
  2. News gathering : mainly uses human sources ( humint ); In addition to the military and political sectors, the civilian sector is becoming increasingly important, especially in economic and industrial espionage ;
  3. (Special) operations : plans secret actions and carries them out with their own military special forces ( action division );
  4. Administration : responsible for the infrastructure: u. a. Personnel policy, accounting;
  5. Technical service : responsible for electronic reconnaissance ; Listening stations


Operation Satanique - sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior

The position of the state in the world structure and the resulting interests determine the intelligence activities. For France, in terms of foreign policy, these are primarily its role as a former colonial power and as a nuclear power . After 1989, however, an increasing merging of internal and external tasks can be observed. The national security of the country is the focus.

Years before, French nuclear policy met with increasing protests from environmentalists . The South Pacific states, who saw themselves exposed to new risks, joined this protest. The autonomy efforts of the French overseas territories reached a new high point in 1983 - especially in New Caledonia . A year later, David Longe, an avowed opponent of nuclear policy, was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand . France's nuclear tests on the Mururoa Atoll were particularly criticized .

The biggest become known scandal of the DGSE was in July 1985, the "Operation Satanique", the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior , a Greenpeace - ship in the port of Auckland . Agents of the DGSE brought a diving one with time fuse provided limpet mine under the waterline of the steel hull vessel to explode, creating the Dutch-Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira was killed. The agents left immediately and were picked up on the high seas by the Rubis submarine coming from Australia , which France subsequently admitted. Two agents, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart , were arrested in New Zealand and convicted of manslaughter.

As a political consequence of this affair, DGSE Director General Admiral Pierre Lacoste and Defense Minister Charles Hernu were replaced. However, representatives of France repeatedly stressed in public statements that France did not intend to question its position as a nuclear power or its position in the Pacific and would therefore continue its nuclear tests in this region.

Liberation action in Somalia

On January 12, 2013, France's Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed on French television that during a failed military operation to liberate DGSE agent Denis Allex in Bula-Marer, around 30 km south of Merka , this and two other French soldiers, among them a helicopter pilot who were killed. Five helicopters were used in the operation and 17 al-Shabaab fighters were killed. Le Drian said the government had to take the risk because the agent and another agent had been detained in inhumane conditions since his kidnapping on July 14, 2009 from a hotel in Mogadishu . One of the agents later managed to escape. According to official figures, the two French were involved in training the Somali police and the Presidential Guard in 2009.


Directors of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure
Surname Rank nomination
Pierre Marion June 22, 1981 (until April 2, 1982 SDECE)
Pierre Lacoste admiral November 12, 1982
René Imbot Army General September 25, 1985
François Mermet Lieutenant General 2nd December 1987
Claude Silberzahn prefect March 23, 1989
Jacques Dewatre prefect 4th June 1993
Jean-Claude Cousseran diplomat February 14, 2000
Pierre Brochand diplomat July 25, 2002
Erard Corbin de Mangoux prefect October 9, 2008
Bernard Bajolet diplomat April 11, 2013

HR / Finance

In 1996 the DGSE had a workforce of 2,500 people, including 1,700 civilians, with an official budget of FF 1,350,000,000. In 2007 the budget was 450 million euros, and 36 million euros for special expenses. In 2009 the DGSE employed 4,492 full-time employees. The budget was 543.8 million euros, and 48.9 million euros for special expenses. In 2011 the DGSE employed 4,747 full-time employees. In 2013 the budget increased again by 1.244 billion euros


Although the DGSE primarily relies on people as a source, it has the Ensemble Mobile Écoute et Recherche Automatique Des Emissions (Emeraude) for technical communication monitoring. It is controlled by Alluets-Feucherolles in the Yvelines department to the west of Paris. In spite of everything, there is a list of DGSE listening stations in France and the rest of the world. These 30 or so plants cover practically the entire globe - with the exception of Northern Siberia and parts of the Pacific.

In the wake of the NSA scandal in 2013, Le Monde researched that the DGSE operates a comprehensive program to monitor electronic communications. This is technically implemented by CELAR (center d'électronique de l'armement) . As the newspaper reported, the foreign intelligence service systematically saves connection data on telephone calls, SMS and e-mails that go over French lines. Information on Twitter and Facebook messages are also illegally stored for years and evaluated if necessary. In addition to the domestic secret service, customs inter alia have access to the data. However, the content of messages or conversations would not be recorded. The government at the time did not initially issue a statement on the “Le Monde” report.

The interception network of the DGSE consists of the following stations:

Due to the fact that France was a colonial power, there is still the possibility for the country to set up such stations outside of its territory .

See also


  • Karin Finkenzeller: Espionage: French secret services have every freedom . In: Die Zeit Online . June 3, 2015 ( [accessed September 1, 2016]).
  • Alexander Hirsch: The control of the intelligence services. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-428-08823-9 .
  • Wolfgang Krieger: Secret Services in World History. Espionage and covert actions from ancient times to the present. Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50248-2 .
  • Thierry Lorho, Philippe Lobjois: Profession caméléon. De la DGSE à l'intelligence économique . Fayard, Paris 2015, ISBN 978-2-213-68194-8 .
  • Patti Polisar: Inside France's DGSE. The General Directorate for External Security (=  Inside the world's most famous intelligence agencies ). Roses pub. Group, New York 2003, ISBN 0-8239-3814-X (English).
  • Janusz Piekałkiewicz : World history of espionage. Südwest Verlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-933366-31-3 .
  • Douglas Porch: The French Secret Services. From the Dreyfus Affair to the Gulf War. Macmillan, London 1996, ISBN 0-374-15853-3 .
  • Claude Silberzahn, Jean Guisnel: Au cœur du secret. 1500 jours aux commandes de la DGSE, 1989-1993 . Fayard, Paris 1995, ISBN 2-213-59311-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. M. Bernard Bajolet, directeur général de la sécurité extérieure., April 10, 2013, accessed September 1, 2016 .
  3. Historique., March 21, 2014, accessed September 1, 2016 .
  4. Décret 2009-1657., August 12, 2010, accessed September 1, 2016 .
  5. ^ Udo Ulfkotte: The secret services of the Grande Nation - The French secret services DGSE and DCRI . In: The War in the Dark. The real power of the secret services. How CIA, Mossad, MI6, BND and other intelligence agencies run the world . Hallenberger Media, 2013, ISBN 978-3-944257-27-3 ( ).
  6. Liberation operation in Somalia failed - hostage «no doubt» dead . In: Basler Zeitung . January 12, 2013 ( ).
  7. ^ France fails liberation campaign in Somalia. In: The time . January 12, 2013, accessed April 11, 2013 .
  8. Décret du 22 juin 1981. June 22, 1982, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  9. Décret du 12 November 1982. 12 November 1982, accessed on 14 April 2013 (French).
  10. Décret du 25 September 1985. 25 September 1985, accessed on 14 April 2013 (French).
  11. ^ Décret du 2 décembre 1987. December 2, 1987, accessed April 14, 2013 (French).
  12. ^ Décret du 23 mars 1989. March 23, 1989, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  13. ^ Décret du 4 juin 1993. June 4, 1993, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  14. 13 Décret du 14 février 2000. February 14, 2000, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  15. ^ Décret du 25 juillet 2002. July 25, 2002, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  16. Décret du 9 October 2008. October 9, 2008, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  17. ^ Décret du 11 avril 2013. April 11, 2013, accessed on April 14, 2013 (French).
  18. Les nouveaux défis du renseignement extérieur. French Ministry of Defense, July 13, 2010, accessed April 15, 2013 (French).
  19. Projet de loi de finances pour 2009: Defense - Environnement et soutien de la politique de defense. Report of the French Parliament, 2009, accessed April 15, 2013 (French).
  20. opinion in the French parliament by Didier Boulaud on the draft budget law for 2012.
  21. Projet de loi de finances pour 2013: Defense: environnement et prospective de la politique de defense. In: Rapports législatifs. Senate, November 22, 2012, accessed October 29, 2014 (French).
  22. France's secret service spies on a large scale. In: Focus Online . July 5, 2013, accessed September 1, 2016 .