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French Counterterrorism Expert Provides Analysis on Paris Attacks


Joining us now is Jean-Charles Brisard. He is a French counterterrorism expert. Welcome to the show.


MCEVERS: And you were in...

BRISARD: ...Thank you.

MCEVERS: Thank you. And you were in Paris actually in January during the attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the attack on the kosher supermarket. Beyond the fact that tonight's violence was the result of multiple attacks, how does this feel different to you?

BRISARD: Well, clearly we're now at war with these terrorists. We're targeting them on the ground. We have more and more French citizens reaching these terrorist groups every day. More than 2,000 French citizens are part today of jihadist networks in France. The attacks in January were mostly improvised in terms of criminal modus operandi. Today - and we're fearing this, of course - we see attacks that are indiscriminate, involve heavy weapons, suicide attacks. This is something really new in France. And it means that war has came to our country...

MCEVERS: You say...

BRISARD: ...Unfortunately.

MCEVERS: Excuse me. You say...


MCEVERS: ...These terrorists and, of course, it has not yet been confirmed who is responsible for this attack. It has been called a terrorist attack. We don't know, you know, who's behind it. Are there any of the tactics of the attack that in your experience as a terrorism expert tell you who it might be?

BRISARD: Yes. Well, first of all, the link with the conflict in Syria and Iraq is very clear for the investigators because we've heard people shouting words about Syria tonight in the streets of Paris. And also because the threat is there and we knew we're - we have uncovered a lot of plots since January and even two years ago now. And all these plots have been related to the situation in Syria and Iraq. Now, the tactics deployed is very new. Again, this is something we're working on, a very dynamic tactic with multiple attacks coordinated which lead us to think that we aren't safe from - we are confronting more professional terrorists than in the past.

MCEVERS: And you say something about shouts that were made regarding Syria in the streets tonight. Now, law enforcement officials were telling you that?

BRISARD: Yes. Well, I mean the link - again for everybody is - probably investigators - is very clear with the context in Syria and Iraq. And one of the shooters shouted in this concert hall words saying that he was doing this because of the situation in Syria. This was said today - tonight.

MCEVERS: Was that on media reports?

BRISARD: I don't know. I mean, this is what I've heard, what I know.

MCEVERS: OK. That's something we'll look to confirm later. Jean-Charles Brisard, he is a French counterterrorism expert. He is also the founder of the JCB Consulting International. Thank you very much.

BRISARD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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