A look inside deposed leader’s intelligence agency headquarters in Tripoli and the trove of secret files left behind.
Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had spies at the highest levels of the rebel movement at least until the fall of Tripoli, according to a top-secret document that appears to be a briefing for Libyan intelligence mastermind Abdullah Senussi.
The briefings, found by Al Jazeera in a sealed envelope on Senussi’s abandoned desk at the Libyan intelligence service’s headquarters, detail key weapons sites across the Western Mountains, with a focus on the pivotal town of Azzawiya, which proved to be the rebels’ gateway into the capital.
One of the spies appears to have provided Gaddafi’s forces with maps and identified National Transitional Council (NTC) commanders who were to lead the attack on Ghazaya and Azzawiya, together with the forces and vehicles the rebel leaders had available.
The documents also suggest that the Libyan rebel fighters were using refugee camps on the Libyan border set up by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to smuggle in weapons and pick up trucks.
Gaddafi’s spies (whose names Al Jazeera has redacted) suggested that the rebels had the permission of the Tunisian prime minister and his army chief to use the camps as a base.
“There are 4×4 vehicles in the Qatar, Kuwaiti and UAE camps, equipped with automatic weapons and hidden under tents,” reads one document. The agent who wrote the briefing also singled out the names of NTC leaders, suggesting they be targeted for assassination.
“I have drawn up a plan of which rebel commanders and NTC leaders should be killed. This will strike fear within their ranks and cause disunity between them,” reads the document.
Spies around the world
In return for this information, the double agent expected the Libyan government to meet his three demands – by providing a luxurious car, preferably a white BMW; paying out an ‘exceptional’ amount of cash; and supplying him with a Thuraya satellite phone to use for ‘sensitive’ phone calls.
Gaddafi’s spying was not limited to double agents, however. His spy network was also able to intercept highly sensitive emails, including those from NTC chief Mahmoud Jibrail.
One such email appears to be from the foreign ministry of Cyprus to leaders in Benghazi, outlining a planned visit by their foreign minister to the NTC’s stronghold.
Other documents found in the Intelligence Headquarters suggested that Gaddafi’s secret services were not limited to Libyan borders.
Government officials all over the world – in Libyan embassies – were used to spy on expatriates supporting the opposition from abroad.
One document, provided by the embassy in Malta, suggests that a number of Libyans who allegedly met with Goma Gomati (now the ambassador to London) should be kidnapped.
Now thousands of secret documents are in the hands of rebels — and some of them could incriminate the rebel leaders themselves.
What will become of those leaders – and whether information contained within them will trigger reprisals throughout the troubled country – remains to be seen.