Special Security Organisation - SSO
[Al Amn al-Khas]
The Special Security Organisation, also known as the Presidential Affairs Department or the Special Security Service, was the least known but most feared Ba'thist organ of repression. During the mid-1980s, the Republican Guard expanded from a small presidential guard force into a large military organisation. Consequently, the Amn al Khas (Special Security Organisation) was formed to act as a leadership guard unit. The SSS was established at the end of the Iran-Iraq War under the leadership of Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law and Minister for Military Industrialisation.
Iraq established an extensive arms and technology procurement network in the 1980s to acquire technology, hardware and personnel for Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and missile programms. The effort was directed by Hussein Kamil, who used Amn al Khas to coordinate the implementation of a covert network of front companies to acquire equipment, technologies, supplies and material.
Kamil defected to Jordan in August 1995, and was assasinated on 23 February 1996 when he subsequently re-defected to Iraq. In January 1997, Qusai Saddam Hussein appointed Major Nawfal Mahjoom Al-Tikriti to head the Special Security Office.
The organization's primary task was to protect the Baath leadership in Iraq. Their ranks were filled with the most loyal troops serving in the Iraqi armed forces, whose dedication to Baathism and to Saddam Hussein personally had been tested on numerous occasions. These troops face considerable danger because the frequent assassination attempts on the president and on his close associates usually meant loss of life among bodyguards. Survivors are generously rewarded, however. Among its various responsibilities the Special Security Service was charged with surveillance of those holding sensitive positions in Intelligence, Military Intelligence, the Military Engineering Drawing Bureau, and the distribution branches of the military security agencies.
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