Cables: FBI trained Egypt’s state security ‘torturers’

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 18:37 EDT
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‘Thousands’ of protesters may have been tortured: report

Egypt’s secret police, long accused of torturing suspects and intimidating political opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, received training at the FBI’s facility in Quantico, Virginia, even as US diplomats compiled allegations of brutality against them, according to US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.

One cable, dated November 2007 and published by the Telegraph, describes a meeting between the head of the SSIS, Egypt’s secret police, and FBI deputy director John Pistole, in which the secret police chief praises Pistole for the “excellent and strong” cooperation between the two agencies. (Pistole has since been appointed head of the TSA.)

SSIS chief Abdul Rahman said the FBI’s training sessions at Quantico were of “great benefit” to his agency. The cables did not address what sort of training Egyptian secret police received at Quantico, or how many officers were trained there.

In another cable, dated October 2009, a US diplomat reported on allegations from “credible human rights lawyers” that the SSIS was behind the torture of terrorism suspects held in Egyptian jails.

Members of a Hezbollah cell arrested in 2008 were tortured “with electric shocks and sleep deprivation to reduce them to a ‘zombie state’,” the cable stated. The lawyers “asserted that ‘this kind of torture’ is different from what [name redacted] normally sees, and speculated that a special branch of Interior Ministry State Security (SSIS) could be directing the torture.”

The history of torture allegations against the SSIS reaches back decades, but allegations have grown since the war on terror was launched after 9/11. In a 2007 report, Amnesty International accused the Egyptian government of turning the country into a “torture center” for war on terror suspects.

“We are now uncovering evidence of Egypt being a destination of choice for third-party or contracted-out torture in the ‘war on terror’,” Amnesty’s Kate Allen said at the time.

The Egyptian government acknowledged in 2005 that the US had transferred 60 to 70 detainees to Egypt since 2001.


The latest accusations of torture coming out of Egypt focus not on the SSIS, but on the Egyptian army, which in the early days of the Egyptian protests was lauded for taking a hands-off approach and not attempting to suppress the demonstrations.

According to the Guardian, witnesses reported “extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organized campaign of intimidation.”

Egyptian human rights groups say families are desperately searching for missing relatives who have disappeared into army custody. Some of the detainees have been held inside the renowned Museum of Egyptian Antiquities on the edge of Tahrir Square. Those released have given graphic accounts of physical abuse by soldiers who accused them of acting for foreign powers, including Hamas and Israel.

Among those detained have been human rights activists, lawyers and journalists, but most have been released. However, Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in Cairo, said hundreds, and possibly thousands, of ordinary people had “disappeared” into military custody across the country for no more than carrying a political flyer, attending the demonstrations or even the way they look. Many were still missing.

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  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Today we torture so that we can have an orderly world tomorrow.It’s the sacrifice we make today to have a better tomorrow.Tomorrow, once everyone obeys, there will be no need for torture.Tomorrow, we’ll call it freedom.

    Tomorrow we’ll call it democracy. . .. . . or you can call it chicken soup

  • Anonymous

    And we needed a cable to tell us this?! C’mon ppl! The CIA are the goto guys for torture… Doesn’t anyone read soldier of fortune mag anymore?

  • overdoneputaforkinit

    As more and more countries become open democracies, our CIA and FBI will have fewer projects training despot “allies” how to torture. Maybe the CIA can go back to training terrorists like they trained the Mujahideen. They got to do something for sake of patriotism and yearly increases in budgets paid by tax dollars.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to know when the fuck our U.S. government is going to get OUT of the torture business? And when do we as American citizens, get a voice in the shenanigans our country gets us involved in. This is against everything I as an American stand for. Hold someone responsible, for a change…

  • Anonymous

    It’s common knowledge that Obama endorses the torture of human beings, like Bush did.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    I believe the polite euphemism is “enhanced interrogation training”.

  • Anonymous

    Not good. FBI agents should be aware of this info.

  • Anonymous

    And aren’t we all so proud of our country?

  • Anonymous

    This is what P.Escobar Reported Yesterday

    How Dick Cheney got us in War with Iraq by using The Egyptian torturers under Mubarak now New appointed VP and former Secret Police in chief :

    “Egypt’s Vice-President Omar Suleiman is the nation’s former spy chief, a friend of the US, a reported torturer, and has long been touted as the next presidential successor. Known by the name Sheik al-Torture to the protestors in Egypt, Suleiman is Americans new “it” man in Egypt, explained Asia times journalist Pepe Escobar.”


    However i did not know they were trained at Quantico.

  • Anonymous

    What a SHOCKER(no pun intended).

  • Anonymous

    But their lawyers said it was OK!!
    End of story, right?

  • Anonymous

    We really need to turn our backs on the Middle East. Anybody we speak up for now is tainted, and we seem only to speak up for tainted men. To try to make a CIA plant the president of Egypt will meet the same fate as when the british installed a king in Iraq. Cut off the money, say no more, and let them sort it out. The Saudis want us to hold Egypt for them? Fuck the Saudis. They have their own money and their own army.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EHJJXSTSSOCXLTSQBUVIDYUF7M Dave

    Proof that america is the evil empire.

  • Anonymous

    Who says the U.S. doesn’t export anything anymore.

  • Knot

    So if the FBI storm in your house with guns drawn because you chatted on IRC with some Anons about a DDoS on the Egyptian government’s website, the guys pointing their guns at you may have been trained by the same guys that trained the owners of the military dictatorships website? I guess it’s a small world among bootboys and leather-glove wearing gestapos.


    More leaks please!!!!

    Sunshine is the best disinfectant…
    except for highly-toxic, multinational
    corporation chemicals, of course

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    Wow, more crimes against humanity. Way to go U.S. Also, why is “torturers” in quotes rather than simply stated as a known and obvious fact?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    Yes, Bush-Obama may even be the same person if you only look at their most significant policies.

  • Anonymous

    And people think that these people could never do what they DID on 9/11…come on.

  • ThatBostonMan

    Exactly. Governments look out for other governments to protect themselves from people like you. You are the common enemy.

  • ThatBostonMan

    And when governments get together you have ?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CTGKYFNDGU6KJEHQNNPXA64ZZI Pj

    For those interested in the more substantive, somewhat “deep weeds” stuff:

    Prohibiting Torture Interrogation of Terrorists: A Theory of Exceptions
    by Major (USAF) William D. Casebeer, Ph.D.

    Maj. Casebeer’s argument destroys all of the torture-apologists’ sloppy reasoning — particularly the fraudulent but often-waved “ticking time bomb scenario” — concluding that while theoretical justification for using torture can be manufactured “on paper,” it can never be so in the real world with real people… for, in the real world, the required conditions for justifying the use of torture will never actually occur.

    One of the best anti-torture essays that I’ve seen… besides Dr. Darius Rejali’s book “Torture and Democracy,” of course.

  • http://skulzstudios.com/ don nash

    The FBI trained Egypt’s torturers? Golly, the CIA isn’t gonna like the Feds encroaching on their territory.
    Sweet air-sucking Jebus, America is disgraced beyond repair.

  • Anonymous

    Why in hell should this come as a surprise to anyone. We can’t have torture be taught by just anybody we need to have real experts on the job.

  • CozmicSeer

    Such evil people in our own government. Thinking that they can do almost anything and somehow they’re ‘right’ in their actions. They and their ilk have generated a lot of hate throughout the whole world because they are a part of this torture attitude. Somehow in their warped reasoning, people deserve to be treated like this. They may have intended on having the Egyptian secret police do the torturing for them using rendition only on ‘terrorists’(and wash their hands like Pontius Pilate) but what were they thinking when they couldn’t even see how this would be used against others? I wonder if they received a new brain like ‘Young Frankenstein’ where the ABNormal one was gotten when the good one fell on the floor?

  • Anonymous

    Obama’s “looking forward”=looking at anything else and telling us he doesn’t see anything.
    At this rate, if we don’t start manufacturing some democracy and justice here at home, we’ll have to import it. Or have it imported for us.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair after reports of brutality in Egyptian interrogation techniques, they were most probably brought to the US to retrain in more effective non-violent, questioning. The FBI from day one opposed torture and withdrew from questioning captured suspected terrorists rather than taint and damage the psychological health of their agents.
    That the Egyptians police went back to torture is just indicative that they were more interested in acts of sadism than in conducting any investigation. That the CIA use the Egyptians for interrogations, just indicates that the CIA were far more interested in false confessions and justifying billions of dollars in security contracts than in the truth.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/InfinitudeTortoises* An Infinitude of Tortoises

    No fools, these Egyptians — they learn from the pros.

  • James “Jesus Glasses” Corbett

    This really shows the incompetence of American foreign policy. Why bother with using the FBI when we’ve got all those recordings from Abu Ghrab? If we’re going to train torturers, how about just threatening prisoners with a Cheney hunting trip, or hours of listening to “Ws” speeches, or an afternoon session with Condoleeza boots, whip and all? Really, we can do better than the FBI, although they might have a closet full of women’s clothes left over from J Edgar that could be used to humiliate homophobic terrorists. I’ll bet they’d all talk with just a peek at Hoover’s girdle. Snap that garter belt and watch them squirm.

  • Guest

    No level of corruption or disgusting behavior by our government get’s an above normal response from me anymore. I’m damned near completely numb. That’s likely how they want it to be for all of us.

    Such a sad time for our country, and for the world.

  • http://twitter.com/Ghifarix Davy de Verteuil

    Anwar Sadat Husni Mubarak betrayed and abandoned the NAM which Egypt Ghana Indonesia Trinidad and Tobago India Cuba and Yugoslavia founded. NAM stood in solidarity and represented the under-dog- those seeking Independence from Slavery Colonialism and dictatorship. Egypt pioneered Arab liberation as well as Arab cultures and socio-religious harmony. Egypt took with it the demise of the Arab peoples Africa’s hope and Asian and Caribbean aspirations. Egypt was a super power of sought, with great promise for the Freedom and dignity of the 3rd World Power. Mubarak may burn both in Hell and on Earth. Spare not the Regime and be not afraid of the Army People! The Army Air force are not your friends but American tools. Do not be fooled by their tolerance. Egypt’s betrayal gave rise to extremism and State Bloodletting.

  • http://smugmug.com/other/anoceanapart Maheanuu

    America, how do you live with yourselves? I for the life of me do NOT understand your lack of common sense, of fairness, of the tolerance towards all the lies, all the innuendos, the absolute hypocrisy towards the Constitution and the bill of rights. You believe in making money, if you are of the top elites those who are worth billions and hundreds of millions and on down till you are just getting by on a quarter of a million dollars per year. You have become your own worst enemies, you mouth liberty, freedom, patriotism and all the words, but they only mean nothing. You claim to be behind the Democracy Movement in Egypt, but you want to replace Mubarak with the Vice President who also is the Chief Torturer in the entire country… One of those trained by OUR OWN FBI, Jesus Christ!!! America, do you always swagger about with your fly open? The whole world is watching you mouth one thing while completely ignoring the fact that YOU preach exactly what you are against.

    Democracy is! What the United States is offering ISN”T!

    I used to be one of you, no thanks, not these days! And if you do not know the reason, I think that you should take a long look in a mirror… This has been going on locally, state, territorially, and world wide since the beginning. I just woke up and decided that I pretty much have lost all faith in what the country of my birth is doing around the world.

  • Mr. Neutron

    I guess the torture business pays pretty well after 9/11:

    Is Hosni Mubarak the world’s richest man?
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may be the world’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $70 billion dollars, according to reports.
    The $70 billion dollars would put the 82-year-old comfortably ahead of Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, worth about $53.5 billion dollars, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest American with $53 billion.

    People don’t agree to be U.S. client state puppets for nothing…

  • Mr. Neutron

    I would bet big money that Obama was told by the National Security State Powers-that-be that if he tried to change how they did things, his daughters would meet accidental deaths – as Ross Perot was warned right before he dropped out of the 1992 race, as happened to John Kennedy and his brother Robert. Serious, deranged military folk that see the world in black and white have made very clear to Obama what lines he cannot cross.

  • Guest

    That’s a lot of money spent to protect Israel.

  • http://twitter.com/NasserIbnHamad Nasser H Al-Khalifa

    They train them to enslave other free people.What a shame the so called most liberal is most oppressive to others #Jan25

  • Anonymous

    If he can’t stand the heat then he get out of the kitchen!

  • Leslie Basden

    Wow, good to know. What do you say when you read something like this?

  • Anonymous

    Wiki Leaks is going to give our double agent FBI heartburn that they have had coming for a very long time.

    Roll it out Wiki Leaks!!!!

  • http://purl.org/net/laur Laurian Gridinoc

    “your torture will be recorded for training purposes”

  • mjcc1987

    American Exceptionalism at its best. See our booth at the next Torturer & Despot Expo & Conference this year in sunny Uganda.

  • Jaimie11

    To keep your gasoline cheap – protecting Israel protects cheap oil. Stop using gasoline, because if you don’t you are complicit in torture, a crime, the sole responsibility for which, you wish to blame Israel. The relationship between Israel and the British/American Empire is symbiotic, and we are all guilty.

  • Anonymous

    This also creates our enemies for at least 2 generations. And the “officers” in charge retire and live happily ever-after in a gated community while we fight amongst ourselves and get the spot light as “angry” people.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds one of local law enforcement these days, no matter what the case of possible
    wrong-doing is scrutinized, the thin blue line covers for their own. Mostly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZXISEHECKZJJR3PAXNYFPCPU24 Secret Weapon

    Next up – torturing American citizens who are “enemies” of the state.

  • Anonymous

    The truth will find a way out, we will find out the extend of our crimes when these despots fall and start naming names. The US and Israel will loose it’s iron grip on the Middle East and then we will see how much torture and crime we have committed over the years. Just think of the extent of 30 years of corruption and crime.

  • Anonymous

    Most liberal what? I realize English isn’t your first language but please clarify. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I have read how the US government has been operating in the forefront of training and abetting police thugs in various countries for decades. Nothing changes, many documentaries have been shown in the US etc, but the response is always the same, token lip service by the media and the American public. Maybe its time for media that can back up their reputation to demand the American people demonstrate a legitimate call to reverse such ingrained practices.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for clearing that up. All this time I thought our guys were going to Egypt for torture training.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KJJ4KEVT2Z5RDHTIRGJOUWL2EA Paul M

    agree! you will also notice that the negative responses to your reality assessment of the president´s position and limitations of power, shows that many here are not interested in knowing how these power´s do control president´s past and present.

    this situation cannot be missed by anyone who really knows how government in the u.s. is controlled and most here already know what you are so accurately devulging is most possibly the case and reasons for him (the prez) not standing on his “promises” and doing more to end the corruption and economic demise of the nation do to corporate plutocracy. he is one man pretty much alone and has to figure how out to save the nation and at the same time overcome the obvious negative, and resentful sentiments of the american people´s sterotyping conditioning.

  • Schmice

    I am usually critical of America’s historic role international diplomacy, but this case of trying to suggest a link between the torturer’s actions and their FBI training is thin. The reason they go to Quantico is to train under our standards which take into account due process of law. If they had been trained at Langley then maybe not so much.

    In Egypt the SSIS is well known for using electric shock and beating detainees. Many who have run afoul of them have told their stories. Together with the 30 year state of emergency people cower at the very mention of its name. That has been the purpose by this regime. Our FBI doesn’t have that reputation here (with maybe the exception of sleep deprivation). These goons come from a different society where this kind of conduct is tolerated and maybe even expected. That they reverted back to form can at best be considered a defeat for the FBI rather than making the FBI a willing accomplice.

  • Anonymous

    This is so true

  • Zenzizenzizenzic

    Torture, another fine American export.

  • Anonymous

    As a general reply, I will say this. We, as thinking human beings, have always tried to mold society into a system that attempts to provide a decent life for all of it’s members. For brief times in millenia past we have succeeded. But the thinking human beings are more and more using their intelligence to acquire wealth and power. Our culture here in the USA is complex. The message on TV, in movies, newspapers, magazines, and more recently the net, is no longer “let’s all share the American dream”. The message now is confusing and mostly lies. Are we truly being “protected” when our young men and women die on the other side of the world? What is REALLY happening? You know, I am absolutely certain that you KNOW that the American people are not that stupid. When do we wake up? When it is too late? Remember when you could’ve bought IBM stock in ’70? Now you have the chance to say NO to $2 BILLION EVERY DAY to our “defense”. Let us take back our country from the rapacious billionaires who care NOTHING for us.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    Only the Anti-Christ can save us now!