Omar Suleiman, who was Egypt’s vice-president for a short time, was Mubarak’s intelligence chief and close confidant of nearly two decades.
Suleiman graduated from Egypt’s prestigious Military Academy but also received training in the Soviet Union. Under his guidance, Egyptian intelligence has worked hand-in-glove with the CIA’s counterterrorism programs, most notably in the 2003 rendition from Italy of an al-Qaeda suspect known as Abu Omar.
The Norweigan newspaper Aftenposten, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, secretly visited Suleiman in September 2005. Gilad then reported on the visit to US diplomats in Tel Aviv. The US embassy in Tel Aviv wrote that Suleiman opposed Hamas because of fears that Islamic leadership in Gaza would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
In 2009, Foreign Policy magazine ranked Suleiman as the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief, ahead of Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, tortured by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomat watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention.
As related byRichard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir: ‘Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman … Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al-Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.
That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:
To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib — and he did, with a vicious karate kick.