57 French airport personnel fired over ‘radicalization’ suspicions

© Pascal Rossignol
Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, nearly 60 people suspected of radicalism have reportedly lost their authorization to work at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. At least five people have been fired following the deadly mid-November attacks.

“Since the beginning of the year, there are 57 people who lost their authorization because of radicalization. There have been five since the attacks [November 13],” the prefect of Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) and Le Bourget airports, Philippe Riffaut, told a press conference.

At the same time, as authorities seek to revise personal authorizations in workplaces which require extra security, Riffault warned that more suspensions “will come.”

To work in areas that require heightened security clearances, the employee must go through security screening scrutiny and receive a green light from the state, including intelligence agencies.

“The 86,000 work permits in the security area will be reviewed,” said Riffault, starting with “5,000 airport security personnel.”

The probe into employees will focus on what people have been up to “since they got their authorization” by cross-checking their records with domestic intelligence agencies. The new parameter for cross-referencing will include “the appreciation of radicalization” as “a factor which poses a problem in terms of security and safety.”

Since President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency following the Friday 13 attacks n Paris that left 130 people dead, airport authorities have conducted searches of more than 4,000 personal lockers.

Neither drugs nor weapons have been found, Riffault said, “just some religious literature,” which he called “elements of advanced propagandism."

In terms of safety, all passengers are now the subject of border controls, compared to a precous statistic of 15-20 percent, said Patrice Bonhaume, director of border police (PAF) on the sidelines of the press conference. Currently, 130,000-140,000 passengers pass through Roissy airport each day.

To offer extra security at the airport, PAF has also set up road checks to selectively inspect vehicles heading for Charles de Gaulle Airport.