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Who was Behind Paris Attacks: Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or Worse ‘Lone Wolves’

Western intelligence officials are obsessed with tracking rival groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. They need to concentrate on tracking down the individual terrorists instead.

The slaughter of journalists, the murders of cops, and the savage executions of Jewish shoppers in Paris last week are forcing the security and intelligence services in Europe and the United States to reexamine their assumptions about the threat of jihadi violence. In crisis meetings in Paris and London today, leaders are trying to get a handle on what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls admitted were “clear failings” by the police and intelligence apparatus.

What went wrong? How could the authorities have failed to identify and watch very, very closely these men—Amedy Coulibaly and Chérif and Saïd Kouachi—who had records of involvement with violent jihad organizations dating back more than a decade; who established links to terrorist organizations in both North Africa and the Middle East; and who were in close contact with a convicted terrorist who once masterminded a plot to blow up the United States embassy in Paris?

Who was the mastermind of the Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery massacres in the Hadramhaut region of Yemen? Or the ISIS capital, Raqqa, in Syria? Or was the mastermind in the rural region of Cantal in southern France, where Beghal now lives under what is supposed to be close police surveillance? The accumulating evidence points to that conclusion.

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