Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
সামরিক গোয়েন্দা মহাপরিদপ্তর
DGFI-BD Logo.png
Seal of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed1977; 43 years ago (1977)[1]
Preceding agency
  • Directorate of Forces Intelligence (1972-1977)
JurisdictionPrime Minister
HeadquartersDhaka Cantonment, Dhaka
Bangladesh
MottoWatch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security.
Agency executive
Parent agencyBangladesh Armed Forces
Child agency

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (Bengali: সামরিক গোয়েন্দা মহাপরিদপ্তর), commonly known as DGFI, is the military intelligence section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, tasked with collection, collation, and evaluation of strategic and topographic information, primarily through human intelligence (HUMINT).[3] As one of the principal members of the Bangladesh intelligence community, the DGFI reports to the Director-General and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Bangladesh, and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh.[4][5]

Formed in 1972 as Directorate of Forces Intelligence, was organised as the principal intelligence arm of the military limited to gathering intelligence pertaining to the Armed Forces. The agency experienced dramatic growth after reorganization in 1977, and transformed into the principal intelligence arm of the military specializing in gathering of foreign military intelligence.[6] The agency officially adopted its current name in the same year. The DGFI officially consists primarily of military officers from the three service branches of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, while with an evolving role in the country's intelligence community, DGFI is also reported to have classified civilian employees. The stated priority mission of the DGFI is to provide timely, and accurate intelligence, and tactical support to Bangladesh Armed Forces commands. DGFI is regarded as one of the primary instruments of Bangladesh's national power. While the budget of DGFI is classified, it is reported to have the largest budget of the intelligence agencies.[7]

The DGFI has increasingly expanded its role throughout the years, including foreign intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence, covert operations, counter-proliferation, signals intelligence, cyber intelligence, and anti-terrorism.[8][9] The agency's elite counter-terrorism unit formed in 2006, CTIB, is responsible for gathering intelligence, infiltrating and neutralizing terrorist organizations that may pose a threat to national security.[10]

History[edit]

The DGFI was originally formed as Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DFI) in 1972. A major impetus for the creation of the agency was to monitor unforeseen threats from neighboring and foreign armed forces, especially India and Pakistan. DFI was headquartered in Segunbagicha, Bailey Road, Dhaka. Upon its creation, the role of DFI was strictly limited to sharing intelligence it gathered with the armed forces. The nascent DFI achieved very little and was overshadowed by National Security Intelligence (NSI), Bangladesh's principal intelligence agency.[11]

In May 2014, a New Monogram of the DGFI was unveiled at its Headquarter. The Lotus placed on the center of the monogram, The National Flower Lotus expressing the ethnicity of independent sovereign Bangladesh. The eight light emission around the lotus expressing Patriotism, Loyalty, Discipline, Concentration, Alertness, Prudence, and Efficiency of the activities of the agency. At the bottom "Bangladesh" there are two stars at each side and a total of four stars representing the four fundamental principles of the constitution of Bangladesh, Nationalism, Secularism, Socialism and Democracy.[12]

Directorates[edit]

The DGFI is headed by a Director-General, who is traditionally a serving Major-General (Two-star general) in the Bangladesh Army. Seven Deputy Director-Generals report directly to the Director-General with each deputy heading their assigned wings respectively:

  • Directorate of Operations (MI, AI, NI)
Provide Bangladesh Armed Forces with foreign intelligence on other nations' armed forces.
  • Directorate of Joint Intelligence
Works with National Security Intelligence (NSI), Special Branch, Detective Branch and Rapid Action Battalion to gather detective and anti-state intelligence.
  • Counter-Intelligence Bureau (CIB)
Information classified.
Elite covert intelligence unit of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, tasked with combating terrorism, gathering intelligence on internal or external threat to Bangladesh and counter-attack.
  • Bureau X
Classified. Reported to be foreign intelligence and espionage unit consisting of highly-specialized spies.[13]
  • Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB)
Monitors national political and strategic affairs.
  • External Affairs Bureau (EAB)
Monitors international political and strategic affairs.
  • Cyber Intelligence Bureau
Provide national cyber security and monitor online platforms.
  • Signals Intelligence Bureau (SIB)
Monitors national telecommunication.
  • Press and Public Media Bureau (PPMB)
Monitors press/publications and media. Also acts as liaison to public.

Director-generals[edit]

# Rank Name Start of term End of term
Director - Directorate of Forces Intelligence
1 Brigadier Abdur Rauf 1972 1975
2 Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad 1975 1975
3 Air Vice Marshal Aminul Islam Khan 1975 1977
Director - Martial Law Communication and Control Center
4 Wing Commander Muhammad Hamidullah Khan 1977 1978
Director General
5 Major General Mohabbat Jan Chowdhury 1979 1981
6 Mohammad Abdul Latif 1987 1990
17 Mohammad Abdul Halim 2001 2003
18 Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury 2003 2004
19 Sadik Hasan Rumi 2004 2005
20 ASM Nazrul Islam 2005 2006
21 ATM Amin 2006 2007
22 Brigadier General Chowdhury Fazlul Bari 2007 2008
23 Major General Golam Mohammad 2008 2009
24 Lieutenant General Molla Fazle Akbar 2009 2011
25 Sheikh Mamun Khaled 2011 2013
26 Major General Mohammad Akbar Hossain 2013 2017
27 Mohammad Saiful Abedin 2017 2020
28 Mohammad Saiful Alam 2020 -

Organizational structure[edit]

Twelve bureau and nineteen detachments make up the primary structure of the organisation. The total manpower for DGFI is estimated to be around 12,000. The Commanding post for DGFI is the DG followed by the DDG, Director, Senior Additional Director, Additional Director, Deputy Director and Assistant Director. Officers from armed forces posted here on deputation. Some civilion officer also works for DGFI recruited by Chief Administrative Officer, Ministry of Defence, Bangladesh.

Counter-terrorism Unit[edit]

Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB), is an elite counter terrorism intelligence unit of DGFI.[14] The Bureau was established in 2006 from the counterterrorism wing of DGFI which was established in 2002.[15] The bureau was established along with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and the counter terrorism cell of National Security Intelligence (NSI). CTIB is responsible for collecting and analysing intelligence on internal threats and counterattacks. The unit is directed by Brigadier General S M Matiur Rahman. CTIB agents are recruited from the Armed Forces and are responsible for gathering intelligence and executing special operations.

Functions[edit]

The DGFI and its activities are highly classified and confidential to both the mass media and civilians. The functions and priorities of DGFI have changed throughout the years and vary with the country's political situations and foreign affairs. The primary function of the DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however during recent times, the agency has extended its role to economic, political and foreign intelligence. DGFI maintains active collaborations with very few other secret services around the world.

Military Experts have termed the subcontinent as a beehive of intelligence and counterintelligence activity and labelled the DGFI, ISI, CIA, FSB, R&AW, MSS, Mossad, and MI6 as the big players in the Asian intelligence Scene.

Allegations[edit]

  • In 1998, Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha, then the Governor of Assam and later the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, wrote a report to K.R Narayanan, then the President of India claiming massive illegal immigration from Bangladesh was directly linked with the long-cherished design of Greater Bangladesh. Sinha identified the design to be a brainchild of DGFI.[16][page needed][verification needed]
  • In 2008, Tasneem Khalil, a CNN news representative accused DGFI of arresting, and torturing him for twenty-two hours for criticizing the military for using the interim government as a cover for de facto army rule.[17]
  • In 2008, several leading Indian newspaper accused DGFI of operating in north-east India. Several Indian politicians accused DGFI of backing ULFA with training and financing. No evidences were found to establish the allegations. Journalist Bertil Lintner's book "Great Game East", recounts his meeting with ULFA military wing chief Paresh Barua in a DGFI safehouse in Dhaka on 29 April 1996.[18][19][20][21][22]
  • In 2009, in the aftermath of Bangladesh Rifles rovolt, security forces detained more than 6000 BDR members. At least 47 detained BDR members reportedly died in custody.[23] DGFI was accused of torturing them to death.[24] DGFI allegedly ran torture cells in many rooms of its headquarters building located in Kachukhet, Dhaka Cantonment.[25]
  • In 2011, British newspaper The Guardian accused DGFI of torturing several British citizens in an unknown torture cell. Among the alleged victims, Jamil Rahman; a British national accused DGFI of repeatedly torturing him for over two years. He also accused British intelligence unit MI5 of working with DGFI. No evidences were found to support the allegations.[26][27]
  • In 2015, DGFI was accused of blocking major companies from advertising in two major newspapers in Bangladesh; the daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Star, causing a loss of $2 million during the first month. Telenor, which owns a 55% stake in Grameenphone admitted that top-level officers from DGFI forced them to stop advertising in these two newspapers. However, other large corporations refused to comment on the issue. "We were informed by our clients that due to unavoidable circumstances, we should stop all advertisements in Prothom Alo and the Daily Star," Alam said. "We initially continued to advertise in the magazine supplements, but that was also stopped."[28]
  • In 2018, Bangladesh's Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha accused DGFI of forcing him to resign by threatening 'serious consequences' if he refuse to do so. In a controversial book "A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights & Democracy", he describes DGFI treatment as so cruel that it could be compared with none other than the Gestapo force of Hitler. Sinha's allegations are refuted by several high level legal officers, including the attorney general Mahbubey Alam, who said , Justice SK Sinha has written the book basing on his wild imagination, not on facts. There is no need to take this book seriously.[29]

Notable foreign operations[edit]

DGFI, like any other intelligence agency, collects information through human espionage. They have conducted numerous operations over the course of decades.

India[edit]

  • A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality and joined R&AW where he was known as Diwan Chand Mallik. He was known to have obtained important intelligence which was damaging for India's national security. He joined the agency in 1999 and used to live in East Delhi. A case of cheating and forgery was filed against him at the Lodhi Colony police station on the basis of a complaint by a senior RAW official. No trace of him was found afterwards.[30]
  • Over the years, DGFI has been accused several times of aiding Indian separatists from North-East and Kashmir. Indian government and media have accused Bangladesh of involvement in the 2002 attack on American cultural centre in Kolkata. They have also blamed DGFI and ISI for designing coordinated attacks on Assam, Tripura and Bihar.
  • Indian leading newspaper; DNA, published a report in 2008 claiming the presence of around one hundred DGFI operatives in East India. The newspaper further claimed that the agency had set up groups across India consisting seven to ten people, each headed by DGFI's highly sophisticated Bureau X. According to Intelligence Branch (IB) of West Bengal police, around fifteen Bureau X agents are active in West Bengal, each highly trained in handling sophisticated weapons and can effortlessly speak multiple languages and all the various dialects in the Indo-Bangladesh border districts.[31]
  • According to Indian Intelligence analysis, Operation Pin Code was launched by DGFI in 2004. The operation was intended to extend DGFI influence over West Bengal and Assam State Government. Several unreliable sources claimed that by 2008, DGFI successfully gained 70% control over West Bengal assembly. The agency was also blamed for rising terrorist threat in India, however, no evidence were presented by Indian agencies. [32]
  • On 7 April 2020 one of the assassins of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Captain (Rtd.) Abdul Majed was arrested by Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Bangladesh Police.According to Kolkata Police Force he was seen being followed by 4 well built men on 22 February in the CCTV footage. With the help of cellphone location tracking, police guessed that Majed was taken to Howrah from Malda.Then he was taken to Guwahati from Shilong and made to cross the Dawki Border illegally to enter Bangladesh. According to CBI it was probably a covert operation of DGFI.

Nepal[edit]

  • In 2014, DGFI tracked down Indian Mujahideen's top commander, Zia Ur Rehman in Nepal. The operation was executed after formal request from India's R&AW and Nepal's law enforcement agencies. [33]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • According to several leading British newspapers, United Kingdom's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, several high-level MI5 and MI6 officials flew to Dhaka for meeting with senior officials of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence. She urged that DGFI investigate a number of British nationals whom the British security agencies found to be suspicious. As a result, A number of British suspects were taken to DGFI's secret interrogation centre, known as the Task Force for Interrogation cell (TFI). The British High Commission, Dhaka has rejected the allegations, stating that our security cooperation with other countries is consistent with our laws and with our values. High Commissioner Stephen Evans acknowledged that British and Bangladeshi intelligence agencies cooperated in certain areas, which includes sharing of information which may be relevant to the security of either country.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ প্রতিরক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয়ের অধীন সংস্থা ও দপ্তরসমূহ [Agencies under the Ministry of Defence]. Ministry of Defence (in Bengali). Government of Bangladesh. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Saiful Alam made DGFI chief as five major generals get new duties in army shake-up". bdnews24.com. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". bdnewsnet.com. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ "- History". 14 July 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Changes in top army positions". The Daily Star. 17 February 2017. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for R&AW for 6 years- Hindustan Times". Hindustan Times. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Assam: The Bangla hand". Rediff.com. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  10. ^ "PM wants DGFI ready". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  11. ^ "History". Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  12. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". bdnewsnet.com. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  13. ^ Chaudhuri, Sumanta Ray (10 July 2008). "Bangla intelligence making rapid inroads into Bengal". DNA India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  14. ^ "ICAB gets new secretary". The Daily Star. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  16. ^ Kumar Ray, Jayanta (2011). India's Foreign Relations, 1947–2007. Routledge India. doi:10.4324/9780203085295. ISBN 978-0-203-08529-5.
  17. ^ "The Torture of Tasneem Khalil: How the Bangladesh Military Abuses Its Power under the State of Emergency: IV. A Midnight Arrest, 22 Hours of Torture". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  18. ^ "ULFA, Bangladesh's DGFI join hands to wreak havoc". News18. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Ulfa leadership working closely with ISI, DGFI". The Economic Times. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  20. ^ "'ULFA has links with ISI, B'desh spy agency'". Hindustan Times. 6 February 2009.
  21. ^ "Assam: The Bangla hand". Rediff.com. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Paresh Barua was 'in DGFI safehouse'". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Stop mass trial of BDR mutiny". The Daily Star. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  24. ^ ""The Fear Never Leaves Me"". Human Rights Watch. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Ignoring Executions and Torture". Human Rights Watch. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  26. ^ Khalil, Tasneem (2 March 2008). "Surviving torture in Bangladesh". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  27. ^ Cobain, Ian; Karim, Fariha (17 January 2011). "Bangladesh interrogation centre where Britons were taken to be tortured". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  28. ^ Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  29. ^ "Bangladesh: Ex-chief justice alleges he was 'forced' to resign'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008.
  31. ^ Chaudhuri, Sumanta Ray (10 July 2008). "Bangla intelligence making rapid inroads into Bengal". DNA India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  32. ^ "India Accuses Pakistan, Bangladesh of Launching 'Operation Pin Code'". antisystemic.org. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  33. ^ "Bangladesh, Nepal helped India nab IM top guns". Hindustan Times. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  34. ^ Cobain, Ian; Karim, Fariha (17 January 2011). "UK linked to notorious Bangladesh torture centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2020.

Further reading[edit]