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Al Hadi Project (Project 858)

The Al Hadi Project (Project 858) is the organization responsible for collecting, processing, exploiting and disseminating signals, communications and electronic intelligence. Al Hadi is estimated to have a staff of about 800. Though it reports directly to the Office of the Presidential Palace, Al Hadi is not represented on the National Security Council, and the intelligence it collects is passed on to other agencies for their utilization.

Al-Hadi facilities include a headquarters at Al Rashedia, about 20 km north of Baghdad, which operates in three shifts around-the-clock. Five other ground collection stations are located elsewhere around Iraq. Although these facilities were damaged by Coalition attacks during Desert Storm the war they have been restored to fully operational status.

Beginning in late 1995 Iraq banned direct-dial international telephone service from Iraq, with all calls instead being routed through an operator-assisted telephone exchange at Al Rashedia. Operator recordings of the calls are evaluted by a committee that includes Mukhabarat, Estikhabarat and Amn Al-Khass personnel. Direct-link satellite telephone traffic is monitored by the Al Hadi Project.

The organisation's sophisticated computer equipment includes systems acquired from Japan in 1983-84 to intercept and exploit both domestic and international communications traffic. Al Hadi monitoring stations are able to locate clandestine radio transmitters within 30 seconds after transmissions commence. Monitoring the military communications of other countries in the region is also a priority, including communications between Operation Provide Comfort facilities at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and the Provide Comfort Military Co-ordination Centre in Zakho, northern Iraq. Al Hadi also monitored communications of the Iraqi National Congress [INC], and communications between the two main Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

Sources and Methods

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