La piscine : the French secret service since 1944


La piscine : the French secret service since 1944

Roger Faligot and Pascal Krop ; translated by W.D. Halls

B. Blackwell, 1989





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Translation of: La Piscine, c1985

Includes bibliographical references and index



An account of the activities of the French secret service since 1944, up to the sinking of the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior". The book makes extensive use of interviews and documentary material about the agents, spymasters and targets of a notoriously incompetent intelligence organisation. The headquarters of the French secret service in Paris is opposite La Piscine, the Tourelles swimming baths, and it is by this name that the Service de Documentation Extrieure et de Contre-Espionage (SDECE) is popularly known. Journalists Roger Faligot and Pascal Krop relate the extraordinary history of the French intelligence service from the liberation of Paris in 1944 to the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in 1985. They make use of archives and documents hitherto closed to public scrutiny, in addition to numerous interviews with former agents and intelligence chiefs, who have never before spoken at length about their experiences. As a result, the book aims to provide a unique insight into the workings of a major secret service, revealing its failures as well as its successes, its structure, organization and key decision-makers. Its agents attempted to liberate Jews from concentration camps, organized opium traffic in Indo-China against Ho Chi-Minh and the CIA, and were involved in attempts to assassinate Presidents Ben Bella and Nasser. The original version of La Piscine won Le Prix du Livre d'Investigation awarded by La Fondation pour la Liberte de la Presse in 1985.


  • Amid the Ruins of the Third Reich. Part I The Birth of SDECE: Ali Baba's Cave
  • Tracking down the Nazis
  • The SDECE and the Socialist Party. Part 2 Operations on all Fronts: The Cold War
  • Indochina
  • The Secret War in the Maghreb. Part 3 The Gaullist Republic: Grossin's "Firm"
  • Signed, The Red Hand
  • The Colonies are Finished
  • Secret Missions on the Dark Continent
  • The Hunt for Moles
  • In the Turbulence. Part 4 From Pompidou to Mitterand: De Marenches at SDECE
  • Coups d'Etat in Africa
  • Mitterand's "Specials". Epilogue: Death of an Officer.

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