11 Jan 2008

Dissent over scrapping of French overseas ministry intelligence unit

3:07 pm on 11 January 2008

Reports from France say there have been disagreements over the disbanding of the intelligence unit attached to its ministry of overseas territories.

The move was announced by the junior minister, Christian Estrosi, and the French weekly Le Point now says he won't rescind his decision after it was criticised by his superior, the minister of the interior, Michele Alliot-Marie.

Mr Estrosi said the contract of the general in charge of the ministry's military unit expired at the end of December and after consulting the president, the prime minister and the defence minister, it was disbanded.

He says the intelligence unit was set up in 1959 to gather information about politicians as well as journalists on the ministry's behalf.

According to Le Point, Ms Alliot-Marie will hire a military adviser and maintain some offices responsible to the high commissions.