A former French intelligence officer who defected to al Qaeda was among the targets of the first wave of United States airstrikes in Syria last month, McClatchy reports. Two European intelligence officials described the former French officer as the highest-ranking defector ever to go over to the terrorist group, and called his defection one of the most dangerous developments in the long confrontation between the West and al Qaeda. The identity of the officer is a closely guarded secret. The defector was one of those targeted when the U.S. struck eight locations occupied by the al-Nusra Front, which is al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. The former French officer apparently survived the assault.