CAPSTONE VALET is the Special Liaison Group established to handle official communications between the Laundry and the French OCCINTEL body, Direction Centrale de la Sécurité Extraordinare (DCRI). While most other nations' OCCINTEL bodies welcomed the new framework, intended to regularize a patchwork of channels which had grown up over decades, the DCRI have been resistant to the change. Part of this owes to missteps by the first head of CAPSTONE, who inadvertently was quoted as saying the new system should "show the Continentals how it's done". That tone might be acceptable -barely- when dealing with bodies relatively new to the OCCINTEL game (like the former Eastern-Bloc new Euro-partners) but it was absolutely the wrong tone to take with the French. Their resistance may also stem from the unilateral manner in which CAPSTONE was proposed and implemented.

While the French have acceded in theory to regular meetings under the CAPSTONE framework, they purposefully arrange that absolutely nothing gets done at them, and any communiques submitted under CAPSTONE will likely be delayed if not actually stonewalled. In the Laundry, CAPSTONE VALET has quickly been recognized as a toxic assignment - you will be stymied and resented and snubbed and made to sit in interminable meetings in shabby government buildings drinking atrocious coffee, and your reward when you return home will be subtle recriminations and a no-doubt-less-than-stellar quarterly evaluation.

Any substantive liaison that goes on between the Laundry and the DCRI is done informally through long-established channels elsewhere, and none of it gets reported back to the CAPSTONE teams. Of course, with Brexit in the offing, expect all of our Euro-liaison tasks to get more difficult going forward, doubly so in France.


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