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July 7, 2006
Hamdi Mahmoud Made Some People Nervous

The month prior to the American invasion of Iraq, the Times of London broke the news that one of Saddam's bodyguards had defected to the West and had given the Mossad a file that showed where Saddam Hussein kept his WMD (Times link not available). Abu Hamdi Mahmoud provided what looked like a smoking gun to the UNMOVIC team:

The bodyguard, Abu Hamdi Mahmoud, had provided Israeli intelligence with a list of sites, the newspaper said, as he was debriefed at a high-security Israeli base.

It quoted William Tierney, a former UN weapons inspector who has continued to gather information on Saddam’s arsenal, as saying Mahmoud’s information was "the smoking gun" that has so far proved so elusive for both the UN weapons inspectors and US intelligence.

"Once the inspectors go to where Mahmoud has pointed them, then it’s all over for Saddam," Mr Tierney said.

The newspaper said Mahmoud was a member of the elite unit that protects Saddam, called the Murasiq Qun - the "Inner Circle". Known as "the Gatekeeper", Mahmoud was a muscular Saddam lookalike often photographed standing behind Saddam .

Not much has been heard from Hamdi Mahmoud since the fall of Saddam. Google searches turn up little except the initial reporting on the topic. The UNMOVIC inspections ended shortly before the invasion. One other reason that the inspections may not have turned up anything of value may be because of the alert that Iraqi Intelligence Service directors sent out immediately after Mahmoud's defection. In document IISP-2003-00027591-HT-DHX.pdf, the General Director of Directorate 17 (responsible for training of IIS officers) sent a Top Secret and Personal communique to the chief of Directorate 40 regarding the defection and publication of the material:

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Benevolent Top Secret and Personal Number Directorate 17/6/1 Date: 2/3/2003 Subject: News

To: The Director of Directorate 40

Kadimi Kurdistan broadcasting station claimed the following:

British sources revealed that one of the personal bodyguards of the president of the Iraqi regime handed the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, a file containing the locations of secret arsenals where Saddam is concealing WMD. The British Sunday Times reported that Hamdi Mahmoud, Saddam’s personal bodyguard, fled Iraq recently to Israel and gave that file to the Mossad. The newspaper pointed that the information revealed by Mahmoud comes a day before the International inspectors presented their report to the United Nations regarding the inspection operations inside Iraq. It went on to add that Mahmoud, now living in Israel at an undisclosed location, has given the Mossad a secret file containing all the locations where Baghdad is hiding weapons and equipment of mass destruction. The newspaper explained that the locations include a chemical weapon plant built underground in Baghdad, a plant to assemble SCUD missile near al-Ramadi, an underground reinforced arsenal for biological bombs, in addition to five arsenals for missiles buried in the sands of the Western desert.

Note that none of the above talks about any kind of false information getting propagated by Mahmoud. The memo treats the information published as fact rather than speculation or disinformation. Moreoever, the very urgency implied in the classification and in the language gives the impression that the IIS considered this a big problem.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 7, 2006 9:18 PM

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Tracked on July 7, 2006 10:39 PM


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