National Security Agency (Bahrain)
جهاز الأمن الوطني
|Formed||May 8, 2002|
|Preceding Agency||General Directorate for State Security Investigations|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Bahrain|
|Headquarters||Diwan Fort, Manama
|Agency executive||Adel bin Khalifa Al Fadhel, Director of NSA|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The National Security Agency or National Security Apparatus (Arabic: جهاز الأمن الوطني) is an investigating authority in Bahrain that is associated with but not formally part of the Ministry of the Interior. The NSA was formed after King Hamad issued Decree No. 14 of 2002 declaring it as the replacement of the General Directorate for State Security Investigations. The NSA was granted the power to make arrests by a 2008 Royal Decree, and lost this power in 2011, again by Royal Decree.
Before 2002, the NSA was organized as the 'General Directorate for State Security Investigations' (Arabic: الإدارة العامة لمباحث أمن الدولة), also known as 'Security and Intelligence Service'. It was headed by Ian Henderson from 1966 to 1998. After Henderson retired in 1998, the position was taken by Khalid bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, a nephew of the then-ruler Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Adel Flaifel served in the organization until 2002.
The NSA director is appointed by the King, has cabinet rank, and is a member of the Supreme Defence Council along with the Minister of Interior. According to the BCHR and opposition, senior positions of the NSA are occupied by relatives of the King, the majority of the agency's employees are non-Bahraini citizens and, despite being a majority of Bahrain's population, Shi'ites make up only 4% of the NSA's employees.
The current acting director of the NSA is Major-General Adel bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Fadhel. Adel bin Khalifa was appointed on November 28, 2011 to fill a vacancy created when the former director, Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, was promoted to the position of Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council. Khalifa bin Abdullah is a cousin of King Hamad and a member of the Al Khalifa royal family of Bahrain. Khalifa bin Abdullah was appointed on March 23, 2008, prior to which he was serving as Bahrain's ambassador to London. He was previously the acting CEO of Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation and director of Press and Foreign Media Relations.
Prior to Khalifa bin Abdullah, the position of NSA director was occupied by another cousin of the King, Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid Al Khalifa, who was appointed in September 2005, and is the current ambassador to London. The first director of the NSA was another cousin of the King, Abdul Aziz bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, who was appointed by the King in May 2002.
Bahrain NSA chiefs
|#||Name||Picture||Took Office||Left Office|
|1||Ian Henderson||1966||1 February 1998|
|2||Khalid bin Mohammed Al Khalifa||1 February 1998||8 May 2002|
|3||Abdul Aziz bin Ateyatallah Al Khalifa||8 May 2002||26 September 2005|
|4||Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid Al Khalifa||26 September 2005||23 March 2008|
|5||Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa||23 March 2008||28 November 2011|
|6||Adel bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Fadhel||28 November 2011||Still|
The National Security Agency has been accused of torture and targeting of human rights defenders and opposition political activists. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, established by King Hamad to investigate events in the Bahraini uprising, concluded that "the NSA ... followed a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which in many cases amounted to torture, with respect to a large number of detainees in their custody." This conclusion was reached on the basis of investigations and forensic medical examinations conducted by the Commission.(p298) The Commission also found that the death of one detainee—a co-founder and board member of the independent Alwasat daily newspaper—was attributable to torture while in the custody of the NSA.(p245)
- "Torture Redux". Human Rights Watch. 8 February 2010. p. 5.
The NSA, while not formally part of the Ministry of Interior, has offices in Interior Ministry headquarters
- "Decree No 14 of the Year 2002 on the Establishment of the National Security Agency". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 8 May 2002.
- "Dangerous Statistics and Facts about the National Security Apparatus". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. 5 March 2009.
- "Decree No 117 of the Year 2008 on Amending Some Provisions of Decree 114 of the Year 2002". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 31 December 2008.
- "Decree No 115 of the Year 2011 on Amending Some Provisions of Decree 114 of the Year 2002". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 18 November 2011.
- "Human Rights Watch World Report 1999". Human Rights Watch. 1999.
- "'Britain's Klaus Barbie' still walks free". New Statesman. 29 November 1999.
- "Bahraini Shi'ites protest against settling Sunnis". Reuters. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Decree No 116 of the Year 2011 on the Appointment of the Director of the National Security Agency". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 28 November 2011.
- "Royal Decree No 47 of the Year 2011 on the Appointment of the Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 28 November 2011.
- Henzel, Christopher (2008-03-24). "New head of Bahrain National Security Agency". WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks cable:08MANAMA194. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
- "Bahrain 'torture service' official to attend royal wedding". The Guardian. 28 April 2011.
- "Decree No 15 of the Year 2002 on the Appointment of the Head of the National Security Agency with the Rank of Minister". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 8 May 2002.
- "Granting the National Security Apparatus the power of General Attorney and immunity from prosecution before Civil Courts". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
- "The King of Bahrain Grants the National Security Apparatus (NSA) Full Power". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. 23 August 2010.
- Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (Report). Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. 23 November 2011. http://files.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdf.