Among the new materials released from the captured archives of the IIS comes a memorandum that circulated among the highest levels of Iraq’s spy agency. The director of the IIS had a series of communications regarding the purchase of a secret house in Iraq with which to house activities that the IIS wanted out of sight of UN inspectors. While the activity itself does not get described, the requirement of absolute secrecy for the project gets explicitly referenced in document CMPC-2003-015065 (emphases mine):
Sir: Honorable Director of the Intelligence Service
Subject: Allocation of a secret house
In view of the forthcoming completion of the new computer project that is expected to be contracted out, and due to the fact that the said computer is considered among developed high-tech devices and import-banned materials and equipment according to the United Nations decisions, and for fear that the International Inspection Commission pays a visit to the headquarter and searches the present computer building and finds out about the new computer which is supposed to be the future of the data storehouse of the Service’s directorates, and in view of the significance of what was mentioned above, we hereby suggest:
To allocate a secret house near the Service’s headquarter (Al-Mansur or Al-Harithiyyah), for the location of the new computer, in order to simplify the fulfillment of the installation works’ requirements including the establishment of a big telephone cable between the Service’s headquarter and the new computer’s location, knowing that the secret house used by M3 and situated in the pool has been designated as a permanent location for the homicide directorate. Moreover, the new location to be allocated shall also be used to store video film chips (microfilms) holding most of the Service directorates’ documents, and to empty other important documents and devices.
Hoping you would examine and agree upon the allocation of the required secret house.
Director of M3
13 January 1999
According to the CIA, M3 was the Directorate of Data Processing and Information Security. A good portion of the file’s 36 pages has scans of handwritten notes on cryptology and secure message transmission. It does not sound as though it could easily be described as a “homicide directorate.” That sounds much more like M21, also known as the Al-Ghafiqi Project:
The Al Ghafiqi Project existed to make explosive devices for the IIS to be used in assassination and demolition operations. The Explosives Section of M9/J was extracted from the M9 Directorate in 1990 and assigned as its own directorate, M21; at the same time, the remainder of M9/J was also extracted and designated as M16. The name Al Ghafiqi, referring to a geographic area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, was most likely attached to the project in 1990 as it was designated as an independent directorate.
This memo and others that follow in the file show that M3 needed a safe house for data storage of material regarding this “homicide directorare”, archiving its paperwork and research as necessary for the group. The project of housing this data was important enough that the director of M3, Sa’d ‘Abd-al-Razzaq Al Majid Al Tikriti, found it necessary to keep the director of the IIS, Tahir Jalil Habbush, informed of the details and to request his personal permission to proceed.
It also demonstrates that the IIS remained cognizant of the need to evade UNSCOM inspectors on the purchase of banned materials and the pursuit of banned programs even in 1999, after Saddam Hussein had kicked the inspectors out of the country. The memo proves that the Iraqis remained defiant and out of compliance with UN resolutions and had no intention of seriously complying with them at all.