French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was to announce Thursday the merger of intelligence and counterintelligence services to improve the response to terrorist threats, news reports said.
Alliot-Marie was to announce the creation of the DCRI, the French initials for the Central Agency for Internal Intelligence, during a visit Thursday to the new unit's nerve center, in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. The DCRI is to replace the long-standing RG intelligence and the DST counterintelligence units.
Le Figaro daily quoted observers as saying the new service would be a French version of the FBI, charged with investigating threats to the state, like terrorism, and monitoring other potential troublemakers.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to name the current head of the DST, Bernard Squarcini, as head of the new unit, Le Figaro said. No date for the possible nomination was given.
Several hundred agents from the existing agencies are expected to be transferred to other police units, Le Figaro said.