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Iraqi National Intelligence Service

The Iraqi National Intelligence Service, according to the "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period", Chapter 3, Article 27D, dated 08 March 2004, "shall collect information, assess threats to national security, and advise the Iraqi government. This Service shall be under civilian control, shall be subject to legislative oversight, and shall operate pursuant to law and in accordance with recognized principles of human rights."

The INIS is an Iraqi Intelligence Service designed to ensure the security of the Iraqi state and its people by analyzing threats to national security, and ensuring the security of Iraq.

About $3 billion in secret funds was included in the $87 billion Iraq appropriation approved by Congress in early November 2003. The funding, spread over three years, was in the "Other Procurement Air Force Account" that is used to fund the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA's aim is to create an Iraqi intelligence network that would be apart from US feared, Iranian meddling.

The Central Intelligence Agency seeks to establish a domestic intelligence service, through which the CIA may spy on groups and individuals inside Iraq targeting US troops and civilians. The CIA plans to establish the new service with help from intelligence services in Jordan. Iraqi Interior Minister Nouri Badran, a secular Shiite Muslim, was initially selected to head the new agency. Badran had worked with the CIA over the previous decade attempting to incite a coup to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

On 04 April 2004 Coalition Administrator Paul Bremer announced the individuals who will head Iraq's national defense structure and announced the formation of a new Iraqi intelligence agency during a Baghdad press conference. Bremer announced that Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed al-Shehwani (sometimes also spelled al-Shawani) will be the director general of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS).

Al-Shehwani was in the Iraqi military from 1955 until 1984, when Saddam's forces forced him into retirement. Shehwani was a charismatic officer, who gained popularity from his participation in a helicopter assault upon Iranian troops in 1984. This surge in popularity, in the eyes of Saddam Hussein, made him a threat to the government, and in 1989, Al-Shehwani was arrested and interrogated by the Iraqi Government.

Al-Shehwani then fled Iraq in May 1990, soon before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Al-Shehwani fled to the United Kingdom around 1990, where he led an underground opposition group to the Saddam Regime, from 1991 to 1996. In 1991, while in exile, Al-Shehwani began to plan a military coup of the Hussein government. Al-Shehwani recruited from former members of the Iraqi special forces, a group that Hussein has previously disbanded. In June 1996 Al-Shehwani's plans were halted when the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi Intelligence Service under Saddam Hussein), murdered 85 of al-Shehwani's operatives were killed by the Mukhabarat, including three of al-Shehwani's sons. Al-Shehwani and his men also fought alongside coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In February 2004, the Governing Council published the complete charter of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service. The new charter allows for greater controls and restrictions of the INIS, specifically detailing the authority and license allowed by the INIS. It is important to note that the duty of the INIS is to serve as an information agency to the Council of Ministers. Under the guidelines of the INIS' charter the new Iraqi National Intelligence Service does not have any law enforcement authority, removing a power greatly abused by Saddam's Mukharabat. The INIS is also forbidden from reporting on domestic political issues or involving itself in the political process. The INIS is completely funded by the CIA, and its funding amounts to around US$3 billion or three years, starting in 2004.

The Iraqi National Congress (INC) Information Collection Program (ICP) began in 2000, and after 2003 was a vehicle for interviewing Iraqi nationals for intelligence. About one-fifth of the verbal debriefings of sources in Iraq were carried out by the ICP. The ICP received $340,000 a month from the DIA's Defense Human Intelligence Service (DHS) following its 2002 assignment to DIA.

In 2004, al-Shewani's intelligence found that the Iranian government had created a "hit-list" that included names and home addresses of former senior officers who had served under Saddam's regime. Al-Shewani was one of those targeted by the Iranians to be killed. Al-Shewani also recruited the old chief of the Iran branch under Saddam's regime, into the new INIS, which was a cause of concern by Iran and its allies. Al-Shewani has tried to remain independent from sectarian battles in Iraq, instead acting as a representative of the national government than operating in the interests of specific groups, such a undertaking a sectarian initiative. There are concerns however that the INIS has grown to become anti-Iranian, especially due to the leadership of al-Shewani.

Al-Shewani's INIS has also formed a tense relationship with the Shiite members of the Iraqi government. Early after the establishment of the INIS, in September 2004, INIS operatives arrested not less than 50 members of the Shiite party, and held them for several months. Furthermore, soon after this incident, al-Shewani accused an influential Shiite political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, of being in the pay of Iran.

The rise of a rival intelligence organization, the Ministry of Security (MOS) in 2007 run by Shiite Sheerwan al-Waeli, is said to be a product of the INIS' strained relationship with the Shiite elite. As a result, as of 2007, Iraq has two separate intelligence organizations; the INIS and the MOS, though the MOS is not officially sanctioned by the Iraqi government.

Recently, there has been a push to officially establish the Ministry of Security, and then incorporate the INIS, putting the INIS under the control of the MOS. However, as of June 2007, no decision has been reached on the formalization of Waeli's powers, or the integration of the CIA funded INIS.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:53:25 ZULU