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Al Hadi Project (Project 858)

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

Al-Hadi facilities included a headquarters at Al Rashedia, about 20 km north of Baghdad, which operated in three shifts around-the-clock. Five other ground collection stations were located elsewhere around Iraq. Although these facilities were damaged by Coalition attacks during Desert Storm the war they had later 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 were evaluted by a committee that included Mukhabarat, Estikhabarat and Amn Al-Khass personnel. Direct-link satellite telephone traffic was monitored by the Al Hadi Project.

The organisation's sophisticated computer equipment included systems acquired from Japan in 1983-84 to intercept and exploit both domestic and international communications traffic. Al Hadi monitoring stations were able to locate clandestine radio transmitters within 30 seconds after transmissions commence. Monitoring the military communications of other countries in the region was 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).




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