The French secret service, the General Directorate for External Security. Made infamous for sinking Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior vessel in a retaliation op. It is subordinate to the Ministry of the Defense, is responsible for military intelligence as well as for strategic information, electronic intelligence, and it is also responsible for the counterespionage outside the borders of the national territory.

The DGSE was formed through the the integration of the diverse agencies of French intelligence from World War II. In 1946 the government of the Fourth Republic created the External Documentation and Counterespionage Service (SDECE) subordinated to the prime minister. Charles De Gaulle undertook covert operations in Quebec using nationalist and separatist movements in Quebec, under the rubric of "Assistance et Cooperation Technique" or "Operation Ascot." Jacques Foccart dispatched agents to Quebec to develope and foment the growth of separatist movements. In 1968 Foccart and SDECE tried to wrest control of Nigerian oil from Britain and the US by arming and supplying secessionists in Nigeria's oil-rich Biafra region. The revolt was crushed at a cost of 500,000 lives.

On 04 April 1982 the SDECE was replaced by the Directorate of the External Security (DGSE). Based on his experience as an enterprise manager, Stone Marion consolidated the structure and the cohesion of the service by the creation of a General Directorate that controls Directorates of Searches, Counterespionage, Personnel and the mythical Division Action. This stimulated the coordinate computerization of service. Furthermore, the DGSE was no longer permitted to operate on French territory.

The contested personality of Marion, and the absence of success in the campaign against terrorism, led to the naming of Admiral Lacoste as the head of the DGSE in 1982. But the "militarization" of the DGSE had slowed, and since the early 1980s the top DGSE military management was gradually replaced by civilians. The proportion of civilians has risen from 45% in 1989 to 60% in 1993. Jacques Dewatre has been the Director of the DGSE since 07 June 1996.

Source: Federation of American Scientists at http://www.fas.org/

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