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General Security Service
[Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma]

The Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Amma (General Security Service) Secret Police was an element of the Ministry of the Interior civilian police force until the late 1970s, when it was established as an independent agency reporting directly to the Presidential Palace. And in the late 1980s a number of detectives were transferred to Amn from the anti-crime section of the civilian police. The total Amn personnel is currently estimaged at about 8,000,

The Amn internal security mission includes wide authority to concerning political and economic activities defined as "crimes", including smuggling and manifestations of disloyalty or opposition to Saddam's regime. The agency operates an extensive network of informers, under the auspices of the 1970 Law no. 83 "The Law of Securing the Trustworthy [al-Mu'taman] in Defending the Revolution." The agency's responsibilities have diminished with time, as other organizations have assumed many of its former responsibiltiies. But with its pervasive local presence Amn remains an important local element of the Iraq intelligence appartus.

The Amn was initially headquartered in the Bataween district of Baghdad. In 1990 Amn moved to a new headquarters in the Al Baladiat area of the city, with the Bataween building becoming the agency's main prison. The Secret Police also has a number of additional facilities and officee buildings. Amn maintains a presence in every town and village, with personnel stationed in civilian police stations across Iraq -- normally the "ordinary" police are on the ground floor and the Secret Police on the second floor.

The Security branch is responsible for monitoring and countering dissent within Amn, and the Military Brigade provides rapid intervention para-military capabilties [the Brigade commander was executed in August 1996 for alleged involvement in coup attempt].

Amn is currently headed by Staff Major General Taha al Ahbabi, who previously headed the Military Security Service and served as the head of the secret service section of the Mukhabarat. As with many other senior Iraqi leaders, he is a native of Saddam's home town of Tikrit.

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Updated Wednesday, November 26, 1997 5:56:23 PM