Ninth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 22:31:34 +0100 MET)

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Agency profile: Iraqi intelligence

Iraq's state security consists of six main organizations and a couple smaller units. I start with a run down of the agencies, followed by a more detailed description.

Maktab al-Amn al-Qawmi / National Security Council

NSC's HQ is in Saddam Hussein's presidential palace. The members of the council are representatives of the Army, the GID, GSS, Military Intelligence, and the Presidential Staff. The NSC operates a number of rapid intervention units.

Jihaz al-Mukhabarat al-Amma (Mukhabarat)

Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) General Intelligence Directorate (GID)

Before the Baath Party took power in 1968, Saddam was in charge of an intelligence organization called Jihaz al-Khas. Later, in 1973, the Jihaz al-Khas became the GID-General Intelligence Directorate- or Da'irat al-Mukhabarat al-Amah, better known as 'Mukhabarat' or IIS. Mukhabarat is the most important intelligence agency of Iraq and consists of 3 bureau's and sub-divided in 28 directorates, each with its own specific tasks.


Iraqi intelligence structure

Directorate 1:
The Private Office; which is the director's office.
Directorate 2:
Administration; responsible for the administration of the Mukhabarat.
Directorate 3:
Surveillance; both mobile and stationary.
Directorate 4:
Secret Service; active both in Iraq and abroad.
Directorate 5:
Counter Intelligence; responsible for the uncovering and countering of foreign agents.
Directorate 6:
Mukhabarat Security; internal security of the Mukhabarat.
Directorate 7:
Al Haakimiya; the prison located on 52nd Street, which is the main interrogation centre of the Mukhabarat.
Directorate 8:
Technical and Forensics department; is responsible for the development of special equipment for cover operations. They own a number of advanced laboratories and test facilities for weapons etc.
Directorate 9:
Secret Operations; the 'wet' department. Most operations are outside Iraq. These operations include sabotage and assassination.
Directorate 10:
Legal department; charged with all Mukhabarat's legal matters.
Directorate 11:
Accounts; responsible for financial affairs for all directorates, except D1.
Directorate 12:
Electronic Surveillance; responsible for the internal electronic surveillance (audio and video bugging devices) of the Mukhabarat.
Directorate 13:
Medical directorate; this directorate is charged with medical examinations of Mukhabarat personnel.
Directorate 14:
Special Operations; the most important and largest directorate. This directorate is charged with the most sensitive and secret operations abroad. They have joint operations with the Mujahideen Khalq organization. This directorate was also behind the attempted assasination against President Bush.
Directorate 15:
Vehicles; responsible for the vehicles of the Mukhabarat.
Directorate 16:
Physical Plant; cleaning and maintenance of the buildings.
Directorate 17:
National Security Institute; Mukhabarat officers training institute.
Directorate 18:
Iran; responsible for the Mujahideen Khalq organization (MKO). MKO's orders come from this directorate.
Directorate 19:
Personnel Supervison; responsible for surveillance of Mukhabarat employees.
Directorate 20:
Printing; responsible for printing forged documents and passports, plus all other printed matters.
Directorate 21:
Residency; responsible for monitoring the residence permits of all foreigners in Iraq.
Directorate 22:
Protection; this directorate is responsible for protection of senior Mukhabarat officials and visitors.
Directorate 23:
Southern District; responsible for Mukhabarat operations in southern Iraq and infiltrating neighbouring countries in the south.
Directorate 24:
Northern District; responsible for Mukhabarat operations in northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, and infiltrating the opposition in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Directorate 25:
Western District; charged with operations and recruitment of agents in Syria and Jordan.
Directorate 26:
Eastern District; responsible for operations in Karbala Governorate.
Directorate 27:
Engineering and Construction; responsible for construction of Mukhabarat buildings and houses for senior officers.
Directorate 28:
Security of Military Industrialisation organization; responsible for the security of MIO facilities.

Al Amn al-Khas / Special Security Service (SSS)

Al Amn al-Khas, also known as Special Security Service or the Presidential Affairs Department, is the most feared Ba'thist organ of repression. The SSS was formed to lead the rapidly growing Republican Guard in the eighties. Nowadays they are charged with the protection of the Baath leadership in Iraq.

Republican Guard

Iraq's elite shock troops. They played an important role in both the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Kuwait.

Al Hadi Project 858

The Al Hadi Project 858 is Iraq's main SIGINT, COMINT and ELINT organ. The intelligence collected by Project 858 is passed on to the other agencies for their utilization.

They not only monitor direct-link satellite phone calls but they also monitor the operators who assist in terrestrial international phone connections.

Their monitoring stations are able to locate clandestine radio transmitters within 30 seconds after transmissions commence.

Al Amn al-Askariyya / Military Security Service (MSS)

Amn Al-Askariyya is responsible for detecting dissidents and corruption within the armed forces.

Al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyya / Military Intelligence

This organization consists of six branches;

1st Battalion


2nd Battalion

Saudi Arabia

3rd Battalion


4th Battalion


5th Battalion

Sea-borne operations

6th Battalion

Kurdish and Shias opposition

Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma / General Security Service (GSS)

The Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma reports directly to the Presidential Office and is charged with the detection of dissent, opposition, smuggling, gun-running, etc.

Special Republican Guard (SRG)

This elite para-military group was founded by Saddam to act as his personal guards.

Fedayeen Saddam / Martyrs of Saddam ('Men of Sacrifice')

Founded by Saddam's son Uday, the para-military Fedayeen Saddam, is responsible for patrol and anti-smuggling duties. The Martyrs report directly to the Presidential Office. The mainly young Martyrs are recruited from regions loyal to Saddam. 

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