In one message he urged attacks on churches and said that with a knife one could “cut off two or three heads” and create “carnage”.
A subsequent police report noted that the comments “clearly pointed towards a jihadist profile turned in an explicit manner towards the Islamic State organisation".
The agent who uncovered the worrying message informed his superiors of what he considered an imminent threat and advised them to inform the General Direction of Interior Security, the French equivalent of MI5.
However, his written warnings went unanswered and senior officers at the Paris Police Prefecture Intelligence Unit were away at the time.
Officers cited by Mediapart said that after the murder, the agent was asked to post-date his notes and erase his computer's browser history to ensure that the blunder went unnoticed. But he omitted to erase the original date of the document from one of the computer files.
Intelligence agents told the website that red tape was hampering the fight against Islamist terrorism and that bosses "sit on notes because there is a comma in the wrong place".
Even if senior officers hadn't been away, “there were several layers of people who had to validate it," said another. The bureaucratic weight is such that the information would never have got through in time to save the priest.”