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French official: Threat assessment continues

Air France check-in at L.A. airport
Air France check-in at L.A. airport

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CANCELLED FLIGHTS

Thursday:
AF 71 LAX (dpts 12:15a) to Tahiti
AF68 Paris (dpts 135p local) to LAX (arvs 405p PT)
AF 69 LAX (dpts 7pm PT) to Paris (arvs 240p local, 12/26)

Source: Air France
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Jean-Claude Mallet
Carol Lin
Air France

(CNN) -- Air France flights to and from Los Angeles, California, were canceled Wednesday amid fears of a possible terrorist strike.

CNN anchor Carol Lin discussed by telephone the decision to cancel the flights with Jean-Claude Mallet, French Secretary-General for national defense, in Paris, France.

LIN: What specific threat would it take to prompt Air France to cancel those flights?

MALLET: We have received specific information, and we needed to take decisions which were targeted at specific flights, of course.

LIN: Has anybody, either crew or passengers, on these airplanes been arrested, detained, or questioned?

MALLET: I cannot enter into details. I'm not aware that anybody has been arrested, as you said. But, of course, questions have been asked.

As you know, we exchange the procedure of profiling with United States services and other services, such as British or German or others. And, of course, some elements of these profilings have led us to ask questions to some people.

LIN: What was the status of these flights when they were canceled? Were they ready to take off? Were they midair?

MALLET: Well, that's really a question to ask to an Air France speaker. What I can tell you is that the midday flight to Los Angeles was stopped. I mean, I understand that the passengers did not get into the plane, and it was delayed, and then it was canceled, that is for the midday flight to Los Angeles.

LIN: Do you have any evidence to believe or to confirm that al Qaeda has in any way infiltrated your airline?

MALLET: Oh, I do not have anything of this kind in my file. What we have is, we have an alert which is on air security. And you certainly know that your homeland security office has taken several decisions aiming at several countries of origin.

I've read in your press that people from air flights from Mexico or other countries could be targeted.

It's not the company (Air France), as far as I know, that is in our focus. The focus is on the threat from Islamic groups that could come aboard flights.

LIN: So as far as the future is concerned, are there going to be additional cancellations?

MALLET: I will not comment on that. What I can tell you is that we have a continued process of threat assessment. We are making that particularly at the prime minister's office and with the president's advisers, and the home office here and the intelligence services.

We have constant exchanges, and we suddenly need to emphasize and strengthen our cooperation with the services of the United States, which is being done right at the moment where I speak.

And this is going to be a continuous process of review. I'm not aware that we have other decisions. But it is a constant process of assessment, as well as it is in the United States.

As I told you, we have raised the level of our security already early December, around the first of December.

Decision was taken by the French president and French prime minister. And we adapt our alert status to the level of threat.


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