Department of Intelligence and Security

Department of Intelligence and Security

The Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS[citation needed]) (Arabic: إدارة الاستخبارات والأمن‎) is the Algerian state intelligence service. Its existence dates back to the struggle for independence.



The DRS was formed during the Algerian War for independence, under the direction by Abdelhafid Boussouf, whose role was to lead both the national and international networks of the FLN. After independence in 1962, and particularly with the accession of Houari Boumédiène to the leadership of the country in 1965, the Algerian intelligence services greatly professionalised and institutionalised.


This change of internal organisation was modeled to a large extent on the intelligence and internal security services of the then Eastern bloc Nations. Renamed Sécurité Militaire (SM) its directives were to :

The first appointed Chairman of Military Security was the colonel Kasdi Merbah who stayed until the death of president Boumédiène in 1978. Then he was succeeded for a short time by colonel Yazid Zerhouni. President Chadli Bendjedid, who mistrusted the SM, dismantled it and renamed it the DGPS. Chadli appointed to the chair of the DGPS general Lakehal Ayat, reorganising the agency to work solely in foreign intelligence.

The events of October 1988 caused president Chadli Bendjedid to dismiss General Ayat, who was succeeded by General Betchine. His tenure saw major political change, beginning with the advent of a multi-party political system and the rise of the Islamist movement of the FIS. It was in this period that the DGPS reasserted its role in internal security, becoming an active player in the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s.[1][2]

The Services changed its name once again, from DGPS to DRS, with the appointment of its current head in November 1990, General Mohamed Mediène. Outside observers have charged that Mediène was one of the junta of generals who forced the cancellation the 1991 elections which the Islamists were set to win, plunging the nation into civil war, and greatly increasing the power of the military—and the DRS—in Algeria's government.[3]

GIS (Groupe d'Intervention Spécial) is a special force (300 members) under the direction of the DRS.

Chairmen of the DRS

Allegations of torture

Amnesty International has repeatedly claimed that the DRS engages in unlawful arrest, detention and torture.

"officials of the Departement du Renseignement et de la Securite (DRS), Department of Information and Security, also known as Military Security, continue to torture uncharged detainees held in their custody. ...The DRS runs its own detention centres where detainees are held incommunicado and subject to torture. ...DRS officials continue to be allowed to commit torture with impunity. Algeria's civil authorities, in practice, have no control over their activities and judicial authorities routinely fail to investigate allegations of abuse by the DRS or to inspect their detention prisons, although they are legally required to do so."



  1. ^ Evans and Phillips (2008), passim
  2. ^ Jeanne Kervyn and François Gèze. L’organisation des forces de répression. Comité Justice pour l'Algérie, Dossier n° 16. September 2004.
  3. ^ Omar Ashour. Islamist De-Radicalization in Algeria: Successes and Failures. The Middle East Institute Policy Brief No.21. November 2008 (p.11, n.68)
  4. ^ United Kingdom: Deportation of terror suspects. Amnesty International Canada. EUR 45/046/2005. 20 October 2005

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