French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve gestures during an interview with the Associated Press, at his office in Paris, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
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France is tracking hundreds of people believed to belong to possible sleeper cells for terror organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS, the country's top security official said.In an interview with the Associated Press, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve laid out what has become an increasingly urgent question for European intelligence services: How to trace the moment when someone transforms from a disgruntled criminal or a disaffected citizen into a terrorist, and how to block those first steps toward radicalization.Cazeneuve said he wants new measures to give intelligence services more leeway to monitor suspects' electronic communications.With the news that the suspected gunman in the deadly Copenhagen attacks this weekend may have been radicalized during a series of stints in jail – like at least two of the gunmen in the Paris attacks last month – Cazeneuve's trip to the United States to strengthen intelligence sharing between governments and win over the tech firms takes on added importance.The pace of foreign fighters joining ISIS and other extremist groups has not slowed and at least 3,400 come from Western nations among 20,000 from around the world, U.S. intelligence officials say.
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