In an interview with Ahram Online, Brigadier General Safwat El Zayat, a member of the Committee of Trustees of the January 25 Revolution, revealed the existence of a triad, composed of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, former interior minister Mahmoud Wagdy and a number of former regime leaders, with former president Hosni Mubarak at their head, set up for the purpose of subverting what he described as the greatest revolution in history. The elimination, yesterday, of the state security apparatus effectively brought an end to this scenario, he said.
El Zayat said the process of evacuating the state security headquarters began the moment Shafiq and Wagdy resigned, adding that they had acted as a ministry of war on the revolution, which they conspired against from the start.
He claimed he had assurances that they had been in direct contact with the former president in Sharm El-Sheikh, which remained the main headquarters of the security appartatus until the last moment.
El Zayat asserted that the order to burn and shred documents at state security offices across the country came immediately upon the army's decision to oust Ahmed Shafiq and his cabine; the intention was to embarrass the cabinet of Essam Sharaf and to implicate the army. There is evidence that the apparatus intended to settle the old regime’s scores with the army by implicating it in operations of this kind and spreading rumours of chaos across the country to prove that the army is not capable of running things.
El Zayat confirmed that Shafiq and Wagdy were directly cooperating with former leaders regarding the operation of Wednesday 2 February in order to quell the revolution. For El Zayat, Shafiq’s statements that there were no detainees and no counter-revolution lacked credibility.
In contrast, he described the army’s performance on Saturday as “incredible.”
El Zayat’s comments are backed up by those of a security source who preferred anonymity. He told Ahram Online that “there was a plan which was executed over the last few days by elements of the security services in an organized way in order to spread rumours of chaos after a period of temporary calm which came after the naming of the new prime minister last week.”
The plan was executed “while there was no minister of interior in place, in order to deny any group, particularly the armed forces, the chance to control matters, creating a scenario which could only be dealt with in the way we saw on Saturday.”
The source said that documents involving the apparatus itself, which could lead to trials of its officers, had been taken away and hidden. This scenario is similar to the orders given to ministry of interior and state security officers to evacuate their offices on 28 January.
Major General Hassan El Rowainy, the armed forces commander for the Cairo zone, told Ahram Online that the operation to secure the state security headquarters shows that the military has very heavy responsibilities.
El Rowainy added that the situation was being dealt with according to the law and in a way that would satisfy the supporters of the revolution, but what was important was to protect the institutions as much as possible.
The security source said that files which were kept by security officers would over the coming days be stolen on large scale in order to prevent revelations over the affairs of public and political figures.
The source rejected accusations that the armed forces had hesitated to intervene following the crises, on Friday night, in the El-Beheiyra and Alexandria state security headquarters. The armed forces does not want to be involved in the spread of chaos or to be accused of protecting the state security apparatus while the public demands its liquidation. Instead, the armed forces preferred to retain important files on which political decisions would be taken when it hands over control of the country.
Judge Zakaria Abdelaziz confirmed that the situation now fell under the auspices of the prosecutor general, which would take action after studying the files in the state security headquarters. The armed forces did not need to interfere in the affairs of state security, which is meant to be a civilian apparatus.
Regarding the future of the apparatus, the security source said the main suggestion was for it to be renamed and for its portfolios to be redistributed.
Major General Fouad Allam, former deputy head of state security, defended its role in Egypt’s political life during the previous period. Most advanced countries, he explained, have a similar type of apparatus, and it is not an Egyptian invention. He went on to accuse “non-creative chaos” of targeting Egyptian institutions.
Allam said there was one scenario to explain what happened on Saturday: there is a foreign operation in which domestic elements participated to target the apparatus.
“I don’t know exactly who participated from amongst the Egyptian movements or forces, but I am sure that they are not from amongst the January 25 youth who created a white revolution,” he said. “I am surprised that not one of them have been arrested.”
Regarding the future of the apparatus and the proposals for its restructuring, with some calling for it to be liquidated altogether, Allam said: “The apparatus is not important, what is important is Egypt, which will drown in chaos, and has already started to. Everyone wants revenge... we don’t know where Egypt is heading or who is directing its fate.”