Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure
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La Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), or “Directorate-General of External Security” is France’s external intelligence agency. On April 2, 1982 it replaced the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Its motto is Partout où nécessité fait loi (“In every place where necessity makes law”).
The DGSE is headquartered at 141 Boulevard Mortier in Paris 20th. The building is often referred to as La piscine ("the swimming pool") because of the nearby Piscine des Tourelles of the French Swimming Federation.
- Directorate of Administration
- Directorate of Strategy
- Directorate of Intelligence
- Technical Division - electronic intelligence and devices
- Operations Division (formerly Active Service Division) - clandestine operations, such as "arma" (destruction or theft of materiel),"homo" (homicide or abduction), "obs" (observation), with a majority of elite military personnel
- Action Division - formerly had available the 11th Shock Parachutist Regiment until its disbanding on June 30, 1995, when it was replaced by three centres: CPES in Cercottes, CIPS in Perpignan and CPEOM in Roscanvel. Nowaday the DGSE can rely on the 13eme Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes (also known as 13eme RDP) for covert operations, long range infiltration and intelligence gathering.
- Pierre Marion, June 17, 1981 - November 10, 1982
- Adm. Pierre Lacoste, November 10, 1982 - September 19, 1985
- Gen. René Imbot, September 20, 1985 - December 1, 1987
- Gen. François Mermet, December 2, 1987 - March 23, 1989
- Claude Silberzahn, March 23, 1989 - June 7, 1993
- Jacques Dewatre, June 7, 1993 - December 19, 1999
- Jean-Claude Cousseran, December 19, 1999 - July 24, 2002
- Pierre Brochand, July 24, 2002 -
 Famous/Infamous missions
- Announced the Yom Kippur War in October, 1973
- Announced the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December, 1979 (preceding the CIA)
- In Operation Barracuda, staged a coup d'état against Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa in the Central African Republic in September, 1979 and installed a pro-French government.
- In 1977 and 1980, Libyan soldiers acting as DGSE agents made attempts to depose Libyan leader Colonel Kadhafi
- Working with the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) in the early 1980s, exploited the source "Farewell", revealing the most extensive technological spy network uncovered in Europe and the United States to date. This network had allowed the Soviet Union to gather significant amounts of information about important technical advances in the West without the knowledge of Western intelligence agencies.
- Exploited the network "Nicobar", which facilitated the sale by France to India of forty-three Mirage 2000 fighter jets and the acquisition of information about the type of the armour used on Soviet T-72 tanks
- Operation Satanic, a mission aimed at preventing protests by Greenpeace against French nuclear testing in the Pacific through the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, New Zealand on 10 July, 1985. New Zealand Police uncovered the plot and arrested two DGSE agents who pleaded guilty to arson and a charge of manslaughter in the death of a journalist who drowned in the sinking. French relations with New Zealand were sorely strained and the incident had a major impact on New Zealand's foreign policy. In New Zealand the operation was considered to be 'international terrorism'.
- DGSE personnel were part of a team that arranged the release on June 12, 2005 of French journalist Florence Aubenas, held hostage for five months in Iraq.
- According to the French newspaper L'Est Républicain, DGSE reported on September 21, 2006 to the French president Jacques Chirac that Osama Bin Laden had died in Pakistan on August 23 2006, after contracting typhoid .