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Viewing cable 09CAIRO624, SCENESETTER FOR FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO624 2009-04-13 08:08 2011-02-03 00:12 SECRET Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0624/01 1030834
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 130834Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2166
S E C R E T CAIRO 000624 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2029 
TAGS: PTER PREL PHUM PGOV KJUS EG
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Matthew Tueller for reasons 1.4 
(b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) The Egyptians and I warmly welcome you to Cairo. Our partnership in law enforcement and security cooperation 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 (we have requested separate meetings with Adly and SSIS Director Hasan Abdul-Rahman) and other Egyptian agencies involved in law 
enforcement and counter-terrorism issues.  We have also requested meetings with Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Director of Egyptian General Intelligence Omar Soliman, and Prosecutor General Abdel Magid Mahmoud. 
 
------------------------------- 
Internal Politics and Economics 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) We continue to promote democratic reform in Egypt, including the expansion of political freedom and pluralism, and respect for human rights.  Egyptian democracy and human rights efforts, however, are being stymied, and the GoE remains skeptical of our role in democracy promotion, complaining that any efforts to open up will result in empowering the Muslim Brotherhood, which currently holds 86 
seats -- as independents -- in Egypt's 454-seat parliament. Economic reform is ongoing although Egypt still suffers from widespread poverty affecting 35-40% of the population. Egyptian-U.S. trade has more than doubled in the last four years, reaching almost $8.4 billion in 2008. The U.S. exports to Egypt about twice as much as it imports.  Egyptian banks operate very conservatively and have been spared involvement 
in risky financial products, but the effects of the global economic crisis on Egypt are beginning to be felt.  As the global credit crunch worsens, Egypt remains vulnerable as exports, Suez Canal revenues, tourism, and remittances -- its largest sources of revenue -- are all down and likely to continue to fall. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Police Brutality and Human Rights Abuses 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Egypt's police and domestic security services continue to be dogged by persistent, credible allegations of abuse of detainees.  Police brutality in Egypt against common criminals is routine and pervasive, resulting from poor training and understaffing.  Over the past five years, the government has stopped denying that torture exists, and since late 2007 courts have sentenced approximately 18 police officers to prison terms for torture and killings. In March, a court sentenced a police officer to 15 years in prison for shooting a motorist following a dispute.  The GOE has not yet made a serious effort to transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service institution, but there are indications that the government is allowing the 
courts increased independence to adjudicate some police brutality cases.  We are working with the Egyptians through an ongoing $1,000,000 community policing initiative to help address this situation. 
 
4. (S) The Interior Ministry uses SSIS to monitor and sometimes infiltrate the political opposition and civil society.  SSIS suppresses political opposition through arrests, harassment and intimidation.  In February following the Gaza war, SSIS arrested a small number of pro-Palestinian activists and bloggers, and detained them for periods of a few days to several weeks. 
 
 
---------------------- 
Strong CT Relationship 
---------------------- 
 
 
5. (SBU)  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.  The U.S. and Egypt have entered into both extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. 
 
6. (SBU)  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 in the popular tourist town of Dahab, which killed 24 people).  In February 2009, a bomb exploded in the popular Khan El Khalil market place, killing a French teenager and wounding a number of foreign tourists. 
 
7. (C) 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 base for the smuggling of 
arms and explosives into Gaza, and a transit point for GazanPalestinians.   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 U.S.-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. 
 
8. (C) Many of the Egyptian government's far-reaching powers in the realm of counter-terrorism come from a draconian Emergency Law, which has been in force for over 26 years.  A new Anti-Terror Law has been drafted by an interagency governmental committee; we expected it to be passed by parliament in 2008, but no action has been taken and the Emergency Law remains in effect.  The Egyptians have told us 
that the new law will not simply be the Emergency Law under another name, but rather, will be modeled on the U.S. Patriot Act and other international CT legislation, aimed at responsibly balancing the rights of citizens with the government's need to effectively combat the all-to-real 
threat of terrorism in Egypt.  We hope you will stress the USG's interest in the new Anti-Terror Law, and the challenge of ensuring the protection of basic freedoms and human rights even when faced with a terror threat. SCOBEY