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Viewing cable 10CAIRO179, SCENESETTER FOR FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10CAIRO179 2010-02-09 14:02 2011-02-16 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO9786
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0179/01 0401442
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 091442Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0201
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 000179 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/09 
TAGS: PTER PREL PHUM PGOV KJUS EG
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER 
 
REF: CAIRO 64; CAIRO 47; 09 CAIRO 2164 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Margaret Scobey, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(B), (D) 
 
1. (SBU) Director Mueller,  I warmly welcome you to Cairo.    Your 
visit provides the opportunity to review  and reinforce our strong 
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 President Hosni Mubarak, 
Director of Egyptian General Intelligence Omar Soliman and 
Prosecutor General Abdel Magid Mahmoud. 
 
 
 
2.  (C)  Building upon the optimism generated by a new U.S. 
administration and President Obama's well-received June 4 speech in 
Cairo, we resumed in June our Strategic Dialogue and set in place a 
new framework for regular bilateral meetings with the Egyptians to 
explore areas for cooperation and coordination, including examining 
our respective assessments of strategic threats such as Iran. The 
most recent meeting was hosted by Under Secretary of State Burns in 
December in Washington.  We are exploring other ways to translate 
this sense of goodwill into concrete action, including a renewed 
focus in our bilateral assistance programs on human capacity 
development and strengthening Egypt's ability to compete in 
education, science, and technology.  We also recommend you seek an 
opportunity to express concern about the continuation of the 
Emergency Law. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
Regional Security: Iran, the Peace Process 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
 
 
3. (S/NF) President Mubarak sees Iran as Egypt's -- and the 
region's -- primary strategic threat. Egypt's already dangerous 
neighborhood, he believes, has only become more so since the fall 
of Saddam, who, as nasty as he was, nevertheless stood as a wall 
against Iran. He now sees Tehran's hand moving with ease throughout 
the region, "from the Gulf to Morocco." The immediate threat to 
Egypt comes from Iranian conspiracies with Hamas (which he sees as 
the "brother" of his own most dangerous internal political threat, 
the Muslim Brotherhood) to stir up unrest in Gaza, but he is also 
concerned about Iranian machinations in Sudan and their efforts to 
create havoc elsewhere in the region, including in Yemen, Lebanon, 
and even the Sinai, via Hezbollah. While Tehran's nuclear threat is 
also a cause for concern, Mubarak is more urgently seized with what 
he sees as the rise of Iranian surrogates (Hamas and Hezbollah) and 
Iranian attempts to dominate the Middle East. 
 
 
 
4. (S/NF) Egypt continues to support our efforts to resume 
negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians and maintains a 
regular dialogue with all sides. Egyptian sponsored negotiations on 
Palestinian reconciliation are ongoing. Egypt's objectives are to 
avoid another Gaza crisis while eroding Hamas' power and ultimately 
returning the Palestinian Authority to Gaza. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
Strong Counter-Terrorism Relationship 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
5. (SBU)  The U.S. has both an extradition and a mutual legal 
assistance treaty with Egypt.  We maintain close cooperation on a 
broad range of counter-terrorism and law enforcement issues. 
 
 
 
6. (C)  Egypt suffered major domestic terror attacks in 2005 (a 
 
CAIRO 00000179  002 OF 003 
 
 
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 Khalili market place, 
killing a French teenager and wounding a number of foreign 
tourists.  A number of Egyptians and foreigners are in custody 
while security services investigate.  In late 2008, the GOE used 
the Emergency Law to arrest members of a Hezbollah cell on 
suspicion of targeting U.S. and Israeli ships transiting the Suez 
Canal.   The trial in a State Security Emergency court is ongoing. 
In July 2009, the GOE used the Emergency Law to arrest a group of 
25 Egyptians and one Palestinian on suspicion of weapons smuggling 
to Gaza, building drones to assist Hamas, and according to one of 
their lawyers, assisting in the February 22 Khan Al-Khalili market 
bombing, among other crimes.  They are also accused of killing a 
Coptic jeweler and three of his employees in Cairo's Zeitoun 
neighborhood in May 2008 to finance their activities.  Members of 
this cell are in detention awaiting trial. 
 
 
 
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.  However, 
Egypt's northern Sinai region is a base 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.  Recent violence by some Sinai Bedouin 
may 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 broad-reaching Emergency 
Law, which has been in force almost continuously since 1967 (ref 
A).  The government has committed to lifting the State of Emergency 
and replacing it with a counterterrorism law.  Disagreements over 
the law between the Interior Ministry and other agencies have 
focused on the MOI's interest in long pre-trial detention, and 
progress on the law has  stalled.  It will be useful to stress the 
USG's interest in GOE passage of a counterterrorism law that will 
protect civil liberties. 
 
 
 
---------------------------------------- 
 
Internal Politics and Economics 
 
---------------------------------------- 
 
 
 
9. (C) We continue to promote democratic reform in Egypt, including 
the expansion of political freedom and pluralism, and respect for 
human rights.  We have urged the GOE to replace the State of 
Emergency, in place almost  continuously since 1967, with 
counterterrorism legislation that protects civil liberties.  While 
often used to target violent Islamic extremist groups, the GOE has 
also used the Emergency Law  to target political activity by the 
Muslim Brotherhood, writers, activists and others.  The Interior 
Ministry uses SSIS to monitor and sometimes infiltrate the 
political opposition and civil society, and to suppress political 
opposition through arrests, harassment and intimidation. 
 
 
 
10. (C) 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.  Elections 
for the upper house of the parliament, or the Shura Council, are to 
be held in June 2010 and elections for the lower house of 
parliament or the People's Assembly are now scheduled for October 
2010.  Presidential elections will be held in 2011.  President 
Mubarak, in power for over 28 years, has not announced whether he 
will run again.  Some believe that he is grooming his son, Gamal 
Mubarak, to succeed him as President. 
 
CAIRO 00000179  003 OF 003 
 
 
11. (U) Egypt has made some progress on economic reform, and the 
country saw growth rates averaging more than 7% from 2005-2008. 
However, the impact of the economic expansion has not been felt by 
all segments of the population, and approximately 40% of Egyptians 
live on less than $2 per day. High inflation has also negatively 
impacted the standard of living for many Egyptians. In 2009, as 
exports, Suez Canal revenues, tourism, and remittances all declined 
in the face of the global economic crisis, GDP growth slowed to 
4.5%. The growth rate is expected to improve to 5.4% in 2010. 
US-Egyptian trade reached roughly $7.5 billion in 2009, with the US 
exporting to Egypt more than twice what it imports. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
Police Brutality and Human Rights Abuses 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
 
 
12. (C) Egypt's police and domestic security services continue to 
be the subject of persistent, credible allegations of abuse of 
detainees.  Police brutality in Egypt against common criminals is 
routine and pervasive, resulting in part from poor training and 
understaffing.  Over the past five years, the government has 
acknowledged that torture takes place, but maintains that it is 
unusual, and is committed by a small minority of officers.  Since 
late 2007, courts have sentenced approximately 18 police officers 
to prison terms for torture and killings.  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.  Credible 
human rights lawyers believe the GOE is adapting to increased media 
and blogger scrutiny of torture cases by intimidating victims into 
dropping cases against the Interior Ministry (ref C).   During his 
January 12-14 visit to Cairo, Assistant Secretary of State for 
Democracy, Labor and Human Rights Posner raised the issue of police 
brutality with SSIS Director Rahman (ref B).  Your meetings would 
be a useful opportunity to reinforce this message and offer 
continued USG assistance in training and education. 
SCOBEY