Jean Marie Le Pen: Western Agency May Be Behind Paris Attacks

Le Pen tells anti-Western Russian paper of his conspiracy theories, and later says his statements were lost in translation.

French far-right Front National former leader Jean Marie Le Pen speaks with journalists during the 15th congress of the party, France, Nov. 29, 2014.

The terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris may have been the work of a Western intelligence agency, the founder and life president of the right wing French National Front, Jean Marie Le Pen, told the anti-Western Russian newspaper Komsomolskaia Pravda in an interview last week.

“The shooting at Charlie Hebdo resembles a secret service operation but we have no proof of that,” the British Independent newspaper quoted Mr Le Pen as saying. “I don’t think it was organized by the French authorities but they permitted this crime to be committed. That, for the moment, is just a supposition.”

Le Pen, 86, later issued a statement denying he had accused the intelligence services of being behind the attacks, saying his opinion had been lost in the translation. He also partially retracted his comments Saturday in an interview with Le Monde.

In the interview with Le Monde, Le Pen repeated his suspicions about the identity card but said he “could not recall” talking about “secret services” to the Russian newspaper.

He said the 1,500,000 people who marched “against hatred” in Paris last Sunday were not “Charlies” but “Charlie Chaplins,” and that there are really 15 to 20 million Muslims in France, and not the 5 million figure that is generally accepted, quoted the newspaper.

Le Pen's daughter Marine Le Pen, the present leader of the National Front, told France Inter that “woolly conspiracy theories” are “dangerous because they distance the French from the necessary lucidity regarding the causes of what happened”. But she also placed much of the blame for the terrorist attacks in Paris on the French government and its policies.

In an opinion piece she penned for the New York Times, Marine Le Pen made her own recommendations for what France should do to fight Islamic terrorism: "For now, one emergency measure can readily be put into action: Stripping jihadists of their French citizenship is an absolute necessity. In the longer run, most important, national border checks must be reinstated, and there should be zero tolerance for any behavior that undermines lacité and French law."