|Intelligence and Security Agency overview|
|Formed||21 July 1921|
|Preceding Intelligence and Security Agency|
|Intelligence and Security Agency executive|
The General Security Directorate (Arabic: الامن العام, romanized: al-Amn al-'Aam; French: La Sûreté Générale) is a Lebanese intelligence agency founded on July 21, 1921 and originally known as the "first bureau". On June 12, 1959, Decree-Law No. 139, in force from that date, was published. Under this decree the General Security becomes a branch depending on the power of the Minister of Interior and headed by a Director General, as President. On December 16, 1959, Organizational Decree No. 2873 was published. It establishes a regional organization of general security and creates more Branch, regional departments, border, maritime and air.
Its full name is "General Directorate of General Security" (Direction Générale de la Sûreté Générale (DGSG), المديرية العامة للأمن العام).
Its primary function is to collect and gather intelligence, and to inform the Lebanese government to ensure national security and public order throughout the territory of the Republic of Lebanon. General Security is also responsible for monitoring resident aliens on Lebanese soil by issuing them visas and entry permits into Lebanese territory, and residence permits and card stays. It monitors the media by ensuring they do not touch with their content, public order, or undermines an institution of the Lebanese state, and community components to the Lebanese society.
Finally, it is responsible for issuing passports and travel documents to Lebanese citizens. Until 1998 the General Director of the General Security Directorate had been a Maronite when former President Emile Lahoud appointed a Shia for the first time since 1943.
The General Security National Day as celebrated in Lebanon is on the 27th of August of each year.
According to an investigation from Lookout and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the GDGS has run at least 10 campaigns since 2012 to compromise the security of Android phones in at least 21 countries. The GDGS hacking team, designated "Dark Caracal", used phising attacks to trick targets into downloading impersonations of WhatsApp, Viber and Signal, allowing the GDGS to extract gigabytes of data. The reporting was denied by Major General Abbas Ibrahim.
The General Directorate of General Security in Lebanon under the leadership of his Director, Major General Jamil al Sayyed (1998-2005), began for several years a large process of modernization, efficiency, transparency and reorganization of its departments, creating new Territorial Centres of the General Security in each of the Regional Departments by being closer to the hamlets and isolated villages and to meet expectations of Lebanese citizens, thus, deliver their documents quickly and to ensure public safety in the area there. For example, renewals of documents can be done through the Post Lebanese (Lebanon Post), which transmits them to the General Security then go to renewal applicants, such as passports are renewed in one week. The Lebanese General Security has also initiated a process of reform of complaints handling procedures and administrative complaints, thus, better and faster support for Lebanese citizens' requests and complaints.
This large reform led the United Nations in its annual report for 2004 to consider the Lebanese General Security as one of the top five best Official Institutions in the Middle East. The Surete Generale and its Director Sayyed were praised the same year too by the council of Maronite Bishops headed by Patriarch Sfeir as the only transparent, uncorrupted and efficient Lebanese institution.
These efforts were continued by the successor, Major General Abbas Ibrahim since he took office in July 2011 in full agreement with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and his successor Nouhad Machnouk.
General Security aspires to play a facilitating role in the economic and tourism of Lebanon (tracking incoming tourists to Lebanon depending on the General Security).
In a new report, EFF and Lookout trace Dark Caracal to a building belonging to the Lebanese General Security Directorate in Beirut.