Egypt Independent

Former intelligence general defends spy agency against criticism

A former Egyptian army general on Monday called for defending the country’s General Intelligence Services against recent criticism.

Sameh Seif al-Yazal told Al-Hayat satellite channel that the intelligence apparatus is a simple entity that works under difficult circumstances and only serves the country’s interests. He said the nature of its operations requires secrecy and ambiguity.

Yazal stressed that former President Hosni Mubarak’s intelligence services should not be subjected to any form of accountability, adding that its leaders adopt strict internal accountability measures.

He said the General Intelligence Services provides information to state bodies to help them make the right decisions in the national interest, which include military and economic issues. Intelligence can refer individuals to court only if they are involved in espionage or actions seeking to undermine the state, Yazal added.

Karama Party MP Saad Abboud last month demanded the intelligence services be held accountable by Parliament for withholding information from investigation authorities.

Mostafa Suleiman, the chief prosecutor in Mubarak’s trial, said in early January that the Interior Ministry and the General Intelligence Services, formerly headed by Mubarak associate and brief Vice President Omar Suleiman, had refused to cooperate with the public prosecution's investigations into the case.