Thu, Feb 16, 2012 | Asharq Al-Awsat | By Khaled Mahmoud
Just hours after Salem Al-Hassi’s nomination as head of Libya’s intelligence services, Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat conducted a lengthy telephone interview with him from Tripoli. Al-Hassi told Al-Awsat that he has inherited a heavy burden, saying that his mission will be to restructure the Libyan intelligence services, and change its priorities.
Al-Hassi said that he gave up his US citizenship for his Libyan one, in order to qualify for the position.
The NTC has said on its Facebook page that Al-Hassi was appointed after he had put the higher national interests above everything and kept only his Libyan citizenship. Thus, Al-Hassi moved from being a person on the run from the Gaddafi services, which allocated money for his assassination, to the first head of the new Intelligence services of Libya, which will celebrate on tomorrow the first anniversary of the popular revolution which ended with the killing of Gaddafi by the revolutionaries soon after his capture in his home town of Sirte last October.
When Al-Hassi was asked what he wanted to say to the Libyan people as head of the Libyan Intelligence services, he said:
I would like to say this to my Libyan brothers: After the “17 February” revolution, we should reconcile at the individual level, at the family level, and in all the cities and regions as well as at the state level. Libyans should regain their trust in the security services, which cannot serve the country without the participation of all the Libyans. We will do everything we can to reform the security services as a first step. We will do everything to be in permanent contact with the Libyan citizens, and reassure them that these services are at their service and at the service of the homeland. As for the readers of the Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, I say to them that the Arab Spring will bear its fruit, and will expand to the whole Arab region. It will bring a new approach that is based on the respect of citizens and human rights. This will strengthen the freedom and dignity of the Arab citizen, and spread justice throughout the Arab countries. This will lead to the modernization of the whole of the region, God willing.
Salem Al-Hassi holds an MA in Sharia Law. He is a member of Amnesty International, and of the Uhud Organization for Inter-Religious Cooperation.
For the full text of the interview, please visit Asharq Al-Awsat.