One Year Ago — Who Is Who in World Intelligence and Security Agencies : DGSE – Bernard BAJOLET

“The Middle East we have known is over. We see that Syria is already divided on the ground, that the regime is controlling only a small part of the county, only one-third of the country which was established after WWII. We have the same thing in Iraq. I doubt really that one can come back to the previous situation.”

Bernard Bajolet — Former DGSE Director



Bernard Bajolet (born 21 May 1949) is a French diplomat. On April 10, 2013, he was appointed as Head of the French secret service, the Directorate-General for External Security (Direction générale des services extérieurs). Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

UPDATE — Bernard Bajolet retired on May 20 2017. From May 21 to June 26 2017, Jean-Pierre Palasset served as Acting Director. Bernard Emié is the current DGSE Director.

Born September 6 1958, Emié is a French career diplomat, who served as High Commissioner in Algiers since 1 August 2014. Emié was the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011 until 2014, and previously Ambassador to Turkey at Ankara.


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This is the official biography of Bernard Bajolet as posted on the website of the DGSE.

Bernard Bajolet is originally from the Lorraine region (North East of France), where his family has been established for several centuries. He was born in 1949 and went to high school at the Lycée Henri Poincaré, in Nancy.

He studied political science at Sciences Po Paris from 1968 to 1971. He then did his military service, mostly in Germany (11th Engineer Regiment in Rastatt).

After a one-year training period at the Saint-Etienne Prefecture, in the Loire region in 1973, he studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA, French National School of Public Administration) and graduated in 1975, class year Léon Blum. Among his fellow alumni are WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, Alain Minc, Martine Aubry and Bernard Boucault…

As a new ENA graduate he chose to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his long-term goal. Among the list of diplomatic postings offered he chose Algiers, where he served as Embassy Secretary. In 1978, he welcomed François Hollande, then ENA trainee, who stayed in Algiers for eight months.

In 1978, he came back to Paris and worked with Foreign Affairs spokesperson Louis Delamare who was assassinated in Lebanon in 1981. Bernard Bajolet was following European issues and was the media contact for these matters. Then, Secretary of State for European Affairs Pierre Bernard-Raymond asked him to join his staff to work as point of contacts with the European Parliament, which had been elected by universal suffrage for the first time. Hence, Bernard Bajolet divided his time between Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxemburg in the offices of the European Parliament then chaired by Simone Veil.

In 1981, after a few months spent in New York in the French permanent representation to the UN, he was appointed Counsellor to the French Embassy in Rome at the Palazzo Farnese. His ambassador was former journalist Gilles Martinet, whom President François Mitterrand had just appointed. Bernard Bajolet was mainly in charge of politico-military issues.

From 1985 to 1986, Bernard Bajolet took a sabbatical year to study at Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts) after which he wrote a report on “The United States and the Defence of Europe”.

Between 1986 and 1990, he was appointed deputy to French Ambassador in Syria Alain Grenier. He learnt the Syrian dialect and improved his classical Arabic. He then returned to Central Administration as Deputy Director for North Africa and the Middle East (ANMO). In 1991, Minister Roland Dumas had him appointed as the French Government’s special representative to the Madrid Peace Conference while retaining his functions at ANMO. He represented France within the Refugee Working Group for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, held in Ottawa and Oslo, where he was appointed mediator for Palestinian Family Reunion. In 1993, he was part of the new “Picq commission” created by newly appointed Minister Alain Juppé, aiming to reform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1994, he was appointed Ambassador to Amman, where he befriended King Hussein and his family.

From 1999 to 2003, he was appointed Ambassador to Sarajevo, where he learnt the local language. He was then posted to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as head of the French Interests Section, under Romanian flag, as diplomatic relationships had been severed since 1991. He was then appointed Ambassador on July 13th, 2004 as the French flag once again flew over the French Embassy. During this period, he handled several hostage cases.

In late 2006, President Chirac appointed him Ambassador, high representative, in Algeria. In April 2008, in Guelma, he mentioned the “dreadful massacres” perpetrated in May 1945 and announced that the “time of denial was over”. President Sarkozy visited Algiers twice and in 2008 requested him to become the new National Intelligence Coordinator for the Presidency of the Republic. Under his authority, the first National Intelligence Requirements (PNORPlan National d’Orientation du Renseignement) was approved and the Intelligence Academy set up.

In early 2011, Bernard Bajolet was appointed Ambassador to Afghanistan where he received President Sarkozy on July 12th, 2011, and President Hollande on May 25th, 2012. During his mandate the Afghan transition process in the French-controlled territories (Kapisa province and the Surobi district) began, the French Forces withdrew and the Friendship and Co-operation Treaty was signed. He also handled several hostage cases.

On April 10, 2013, Bernard Bajolet was appointed by the Council of Ministers as Director General for External Security (DGSE).

CIA-GW Intelligence Conference: Panel on The Shared 21st Century International Mission

Panel on “The Shared 21st Century International Mission” featuring CIA Director John Brennan, former UK MI6 Chief John Sawers, Director of the French Directorate for External Security Bernard Bajolet, and former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaacov Amidror.

Moderated by David Ignatius, Columnist at the Washington Post. Held as part of the 2nd Annual Ethos and Profession of Intelligence Conference, co-hosted by the Central Intelligence Agency and the George Washington University. Held on October 27, 2015.


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Who Is Who in World Intelligence and Security Agencies : DGSE – Bernard BAJOLET

One Year Ago — Who Is Who in World Intelligence and Security Agencies : DGSE – Bernard BAJOLET

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