August 8, 2012

Attack a test for Egypt's new government - ADDENDUM

This is an addendum to an article I wrote on August 7, Attack a test for Egypt's new government. In that article, I included remarks about the Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) and its claims that the service had intelligence information about the attack prior to it happening.

My comments from that article:

"On the other hand, intelligence also played a major role in the killing of the 16 Egyptian border policemen. The director of Egyptian intelligence admitted that his organization had reliable information on the attack before it happened, but dismissed it based on the assumption that Muslims would not attack other Muslims during the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

"To an intelligence professional like myself, this screams 'great collection followed by abysmal and faulty analysis.' Nothing angers an intelligence operations officer - the ones who recruit the sources and collect the raw intelligence - more than to have valid information dismissed or disregarded by unqualified analysts or invalid analytic assumptions."

Fired intelligence chief Murad Muwafi

In response to the incident and the intelligence service's poor performance, Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi has fired both the director the EGIS, General Murad Muwafi, and the governor of the North Sinai province.

Kudos to President Mursi. The EGIS failed in one of its primary duties - to warn of terrorist or militant attacks. It is almost inconceivable to me that a professional intelligence service would not act on credible threat information. American intelligence agencies have a legal requirement called "duty to warn" - if the Egyptians don't, they need to.

The Egyptian service is fairly good at developing sources and collecting intelligence information on this type of activity, as they did in this case. They simply failed to act on the information.

While we may be wary of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as the president of Egypt, he is at least taking actions to prevent these types of incidents in the future. I titled my earlier article, "Attack a test for Egypt's new government." So far, they're passing.