Egypt’s Intelligence Services Promotes Naiveté
The head of the Egyptian Intelligence reportedly said that he had information about a possible attack in Sinai beforehand, but didn’t think a Muslim would attack a fellow Muslim in Ramadan during iftar.
This came two days after an attack on an army unit near the Egypt-Gaza border killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
Morad Mowafy, head of the General Intelligence Services (GIS), said he sent this information to the concerned authorities, stressing that his job is limited to gathering information.
The statement, which so far has not been denied by the GIS, marks a new low for Egypt’s government. Not only does it show extreme incompetence and a blatant attempt to avoid blame, but it also comes from an assumption that Egyptians would believe it and sympathize with presumed GIS gullibility.
This naïve sensationalism is expected to lead Egyptians to deflect their anger solely towards a cowardly enemy, but not to question the efficiency of this once revered intelligence service.
Mr. Mowafy simply expects us to be stupid.
Egyptians are not stupid. Reactions to the army’s retaliatory assault on militant strongholds in Sinai on Wednesday revolve around a main theme: if authorities knew about such places why didn’t they raid them before Sunday’s attack?
This question is raised, while there are concerns of random arrests and killings, typical of security crackdowns in Sinai.
But that’s not the only theme discussed today. The fatal attack is being used by rival political groups to serve their own goals, each interpreting it in a different way. Mowafy’s statement is already finding its supporters. Despite scathing cynicism that was spurred by Mowafy’s statement, some have volunteered justifications doused in self-righteous patriotism, simply because this statement would undermine rivals.
Egyptians are not stupid. They simply make a conscious decision to peddle the version of the story that best fits their convictions. This is why Mowafy and other officials will continue to make equally unintelligent statements, with the valid expectation that some Egyptians will enthusiastically cheer them on.
Update: On Wednesday afternoon, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gave orders to dismiss Mowafy from his position as head of the GIS, along with dismissing the head of the military police, the North Sinai governor and the head of the republican guard.
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