Former state security director admits order to burn top secret files

The former head of the dissolved State Security Investigation Services, Hassan Abdel Rahman, admitted that he ordered branches to burn all top secret files, judicial sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm Monday.

Al-Masry Al-Youm obtained on Monday a copy of a letter sent from Abdel Rahman to the heads of branches all over the country with the order.

Two weeks ago, the judge investigating the case received a copy of the letter, which was dated the same day the branches of the bureau were stormed and files were burnt, and on which the phrase “to be carried out immediately” was handwritten.

Abdel Rahman acknowledged the letter, saying he feared the files would fall into the wrong hands. “I was safeguarding the security of the country,” he said. “The originals are saved in the computers.”

He also praised the armed forces for appealing to the people to return files stolen from the bureau.

The heads of 12 branches during the investigation said they carried out the orders of Abdel Rahman and his deputy, Tarek Abu Gheida, the sources said.

The sources said that investigations are nearing completion, and that Abdel Rahman, Abu Gheida and 66 other officers from the bureau would be referred to court soon.

They also said prosecutors are currently taking the testimonies of the officers who denied any files were burnt.

In March 2011, hundreds of civilians stormed the SSIS facilities in Cairo and other governorates following reports that its officers had been destroying documents believed to provide evidence of corruption and abuse.

Some seized a number of documents and handed them over to investigators. The military confiscated all the documents handed over, and still have them in their possession.

Authorities, meanwhile, have been investigating the involvement of some SSIS officers in the destruction of the documents. The investigators will also verify whether the documents prove any violations by the disbanded agency.

The SSIS, which had been Egypt’s much-feared and hated security agency, was used by the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak to suppress political activism. The agency was accused of torturing political detainees.

Egypt’s interim government disbanded the agency in March 2011 and replaced it with the National Security Agency. Many critics, however, believe that reform of the agency was more cosmetic than substantive.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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