Two days ago, a presidential order saw the appointment of General Muhammad Farid as the new head of Egypt’s general intelligence service. A profile of this unknown person reveals the close ties he had with those at the top of the Mubarak administration.
On July 5, 2013, after a dramatic night in Cairo that saw the deposition of Egypt’s presiding president, Muhammad Morsi, a presidential order appointed a general named Muhammad Farid as head of Egypt’s general security services. Farid is relatively unknown to the public and his photo, which has been kept secret thus far, replaced General Muhammad Rafat Shahata, who was appointed now to serve as the national security advisor for Egypt’s president during the interim period, Judge Adlai Mansour.
Anyone attempting to describe the new Egyptian intelligence minister, General Muhammad Ahmed Farid, runs across the story of the private account between him and the deposed Egyptian president Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, even in 2012.
Farid was born in 1947 and graduated from the military academy in December 1967. He advanced in the ladder of roles within the infantry corps until he was the commander of the mechanized infantry division. From there on, he began advancing to roles that had an intelligence nature, and was entrusted with consolidating the tactical warfare of the intelligence and reconnaissance units. He has a younger brother, and according to one of his few acquaintances, he is married with no children.
His previous role was as the chairman of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), an investigation organization similar to the federal authority in the US, which deals with investigating corruption in governmental agencies and public funds, as well as fighting organized crime. The same organization cooperates closely with the Egypt’s intelligence and law authorities and with the legal advisor to the government.
Farid was appointed to this role in 2004 by Hosni Mubarak. Since then, and until 2012, the appointment was renewed several times with the recommendation of Mubarak and the Commander of the Egyptian Military, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi. After the revolution on January 25, 2012, there were those who marked Farid as a ‘traitor’ and demanded to remove him on the claim that due to the nature of his function, he knew of the corrupt behavior of Hosni Mubarak and his sons, and their ties with Egypt’s business community. Allegations were directed against him that he worked to delay the suspicions that had accumulated against them with administrative control and even supplied false information to protect them, allowing the Mubarak family to smuggle their money overseas. Others, such as the Egyptian journalist and author Adel Hamoud, argued for his innocence. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi ordered that changes be made and appointed General Amer Wahabi in his place.
According to his colleagues, Farid spent every moment during his last three days in office, from the moment he was informed that his work was to be concluded, gathering documents on all of the sensitive issues tied to the most difficult period Egypt has experienced since 2004-2012. These included investigation cases pertaining to Egyptian politicians, and all of it was packed in 20 boxes and transferred with him in three vehicles to a new role in a different department.
Those colleagues also testify to Farid’s close ties to Ahmed Shafik Zaki, former Egyptian Air Force commander, who retired in 2002, was a member of the supreme military council and was prime minister of the interim government in 2011 before the presidential elections which he lost to Morsi, as well as his close ties to Tantawi.
The claim that is being brought up now is that Muhammad Farid (who specialized in investigating corruption and organized crime, and apparently activity within the Muslim Brotherhood as well) served as a central element in the success of the efforts that led to the isolation of Morsi, the success of the June 30 protests and the recent swearing in of Adlai Mansour, supreme court judge and the country’s interim president during the transition period.