Cablegate: Scenesetter for Fbi Deputy Director John Pistole


DE RUEHEG #3155/01 3030500
P 300500Z OCT 07

S E C R E T CAIRO 003155


///// C O R R E C T E D C O P Y //////////
///////////// TEXT PARA 1 //////////////////


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2027
Classified By: Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone,
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) The Egyptians, and I, will warmly welcome you to Cairo. Despite strains in the relationship over the past several months, our partnership in law enforcement and mutual security affairs remains solid. Your visit provides the opportunity to review and reinforce our law enforcement
cooperation with the State Security Investigative Service (SSIS), which is under the auspices of Minister of Interior Habib Al Adly (you have separate meetings with Adly and SSIS Director Hasan Abdul Rahman). We recommend you raise with both of them the proposal that Egypt share with us fingerprint records of suspected terrorists, to enter into the FBI's global fingerprint database. This would greatly advance our practical law enforcement cooperation.

2. (S) Mubarak, who turned 79 in May, remains a symbol of stability in the Middle East. As ever, he sees Egypt's interests on the most critical regional issues -- terrorism, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Sudan, Iran -- as largely congruent with ours. But his reluctance to lead more boldly on these fronts and on domestic reform has diminished his and Egypt's

3. (S) You will arrive in the midst of a high profile internal political development - the ruling party's leadership re-instatement conference, held once every five years. The internal scene is fraught and tense, as Egyptians worry about the succession of their aging leader, with no
truly democratic process in place to legitimize a successor. Stung by the advances of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the 2005 parliamentary elections (where MB-affiliated candidates won twenty percent of the seats in parliament) and reflecting popular reaction to regional political turmoil, Mubarak has retreated from many of his earlier promises on political reform. Meanwhile, former opposition presidential candidate Ayman Nour remains sick and imprisoned. Government detentions of democracy activists continue, and this year the government has begun to clamp down on free speech by prosecuting editors, journalists and bloggers. Mubarak now makes scant public pretense of advancing a vision for democratic change.

4. (SBU) Egypt is an ally in the GWOT, and we maintain close cooperation on a broad range of counter-terrorism and law enforcement issues, including an annual meeting of the U.S.-Egypt Counter-Terrorism Joint Working Group. Egypt suffered major domestic terror attacks in 2005 (a simultaneous triple bombing in Sharm El Sheikh, which killed 88 and wounded 200), and in 2006 (triple bombing popular tourist town of Dahab, which killed 24 people). There have been no domestic terror attacks in 2007, due in no small part
to the vigilance and effectiveness of the Egyptian security services. The Egyptian government's active opposition to Islamist terrorism and effective intelligence and security services makes Egypt an unattractive safe haven for terror groups, and there is no evidence to suggest that there are any active foreign terrorist groups in the country. However,
Egypt's northern Sinai region is a haven for the smuggling of arms and explosives into Gaza, and a transit point for Gazan Palestinians. Palestinian officials from Hamas have also carried large amounts of cash across the border. The smuggling of weapons and other contraband through the Sinai into Israel and the Gaza Strip have created criminal networks that may be associated with terror groups in the region, and is an irritant to both the US-Egypt and Israel-Egypt
bilateral relationships. The apparent recent radicalization of some Sinai Bedouin may possibly be linked in part to these smuggling networks and Egyptian efforts to dismantle them.

5. (SBU) Egypt's police and domestic security services continue to be dogged by persistent, credible allegations of abuse of detainees. Prosecutors occasionally investigate and convict low-level police officers of human rights violations, but senior officials receive little scrutiny. The State Department's annual human rights report posits that the Egyptian police services are characterized by a culture of
impunity. Prosecutors have only filed human rights-related charges against one SSIS officer since 1986. (Note: SSIS is the elite Interior Ministry force responsible for counter-terrorism and political crimes. End note.) In September, three days after a judge exonerated that SSIS officer on charges of the 2003 torture-murder of a detainee,
the government closed the human rights NGO that had provided advocacy and support to the surviving family members of the alleged victim. A new Police Advisor at the Embassy, under the auspices of a State-funded program, recently began working with the Egyptian police on heightening civil rights awareness and community policing issues. We would appreciate your highlighting USG enthusiasm about this program, and our hope that it will continue. RICCIARDONE

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