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 was estimated at about 8,000.
Headed by a member of the Tikriti clan, this was the main internal security body of the state and the oldest in the country. It usually worked in close co-operation with the police force. It made wide-ranging investigations and protects security interests, watching political, criminal, economic and media activities.
The Amn internal security mission included wide authority concerning political and economic activities defined as "crimes", including smuggling and manifestations of disloyalty or opposition to Saddam's regime. The agency operated 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 diminished with time, as other organizations assumed many of its former responsibiltiies. But with its pervasive local presence Amn remained 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 had a number of additional facilities and officee buildings. Amn maintained a presence in every town and village, with personnel stationed in civilian police stations across Iraq -- normally the "ordinary" police were on the ground floor and the Secret Police on the second floor.
The Security branch was 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 was last headed by Staff Major General Taha al Ahbabi, who had earlier 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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