Who was Wissam al-Hassan?

The news is still trickling out about the bombing today in Beirut, but all media outlets are now confirming that the target was Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces.

I’ve written a great deal about Wissam al-Hassan over the past few years and will have more to say about him this evening, but for the time being, here’s a quick backgrounder, followed by several links to my blog posts about the most important events in which al-Hassan played a major role.

Wissam al-Hassan was one of the most important security figures in Lebanon. He headed up the Information Branch of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (fir` al-ma`lumat), and was recently responsible for arresting Michel Samaha, a former minister with close ties to Syria, for allegedly conspiring to have explosives blown up all around Lebanon in a bid to create havoc. The move was seen as very destabilizing in Lebanon because Wissam al-Hassan is very close to the March 14th coalition while Samaha had long been regarded as “untouchable” because of his connections to Damascus. And yet, none of Samaha’s Lebanese allies demanded his release. Many people were shocked at the ISF’s boldness and concluded that the evidence against Samaha (which allegedly included video and audio footage) was so compelling that he became politically radioactive to his allies.

Wissam al-Hassan has long been the target of March 8th ire. His branch of the police has been described as an independent fiefdom that is not under any real civilian control. Al-Hassan was a key security chief for former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, and was accused by some of having played a suspicious role in the build-up to the assassination in 2005. From March 14th’s perspective, the loss of al-Hassan is a major blow.

Hizbullah Tied to Hariri Plot…Again (Nov 22, 2010)

Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account (Nov 26, 2010)

Saad al-Hariri Caught on Tape with “False Witness” (January 15, 2011)

Return of the Militias (April 6, 2011)

Syria’s Man in Lebanon Goes Downtown (August 2012)

Einstein and the Jackass (October 18, 2012)


I’m hearing now that Wissam al-Hassan lived in a building near the site of the explosion and that the route he took was probably a regular one between his house and the ISF headquarters (near the Lebanese Museum). Unfortunately, while there are security cameras all over the place on the actual street where he lives, it seems much less likely that there will be CCTV footage of the blast site.


25 thoughts on “Who was Wissam al-Hassan?

  1. Here we go again…..

    Posted by Naula Marad | October 19, 2012, 12:58 pm
  2. Long arm of the “law” (Bashar…Contracted out to who else? HA) strikes again!!

    Posted by danny | October 19, 2012, 3:05 pm
  3. My memory is rusty. Isn’t he the chap the CBC report said was the insider in the Hariri camp who help in the assassination?

    Posted by Gabriel | October 19, 2012, 3:18 pm
  4. To bad about what happened in Achrafieh Lebanon my lovely country is mourning suffering the death of a intelligent man as wissam al hassan in my faith he did all what he had to do succesfully and it is time to live GOD need him that his time he left as a champion not like a spy,or coward .To bad for the people who always pay the price no words could explain my feeling for the lost for what happened it is unbeleivable to return back to assasination ,I cryed a lot we will continue our goal all the sympathy to the family al hassan

    Posted by leila mechaalani | October 19, 2012, 3:33 pm
  5. Gaby. Yes

    “The Canadian TV Channel CBC, in an investigative report broadcasted on Monday 11/22/2010, claimed that Wissam Hassan, was a suspect in the murder of the Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Haririr, assassinated in a huge car bomb in central
    Beirut, on 02/14/2005.

    Col. Wissam Al-Hassan was also charge of the personal security of Rafik Haririr and had crucial information about Hariri’s time table and the frequencies of Hariri’s convoy electronic
    counter measures devices.”

    Posted by lally | October 19, 2012, 3:49 pm
  6. Gaby, he was also in charge of the unit that busted all those Israeli spy rings. If he was called a Hariri goon by some and a Hizbullah double-agent by others, is the likely reality that he was just a good detective?

    Posted by Johnny Seikaly | October 19, 2012, 5:12 pm
  7. I´d say the past tense is required in the title…

    Posted by mj | October 19, 2012, 5:35 pm
  8. “he was also in charge of the unit that busted all those Israeli spy rings”…..This was a huge concern to some
    Congress folk who surmised that US taxpayers funded the equipment that made the busts possible.


    Posted by lally | October 19, 2012, 6:01 pm
  9. One should ask Walid Beik Jounblat…As usual, he is probably aware of what’s going on behind the scenes, but as usual, he may be very sibylline !

    Posted by George Smiley | October 19, 2012, 10:06 pm
  10. Wissam Al Hassan may well have been a double agent, as it’s mostly the Hezbollah’s intelligence who uncovered the Israelis spy ring. Al Hassan must have felt obliged to arrest the spies ( small fish) to keep his cover. Maybe Wissam Al Hassan was the big fish of the CIA-MOSSAD ring. Either he was liquidated by the Mossad because he had turned against them by arresting Israeli spies instead of crushing Hezbollah or he was killed because the Hezbollah was ready to expose him as a spy and indict him for the framing of Michel Samaha. The Mossad and CIA decided he was too compromised and eliminated him.

    Posted by vigilante | October 21, 2012, 12:28 am
  11. JS:

    But weren’t the Israeli spy rings part of the same story. Telecom, data manipulations.

    Maybe he was just Mr Dithers. Blaming anyone and everyone- Syria one day, Israel the other. Making sure he has all his bases covered.

    Posted by Gabriel | October 21, 2012, 9:37 am
  12. I, for one, am glad that HA is getting rid of the cancerous Zionists living under cover in Lebanon.

    Hezbollah needs to keep Lebanon safe without the use of silly lawsuits and legal due process. There are too many covert Zionists living in Lebanon to afford such nonsense.

    No, it seems to me those in power in Lebanon need to keep Lebanon safe for Lebanese. Just like Assad is keep Syria safe for Syrians.

    (Note: The above is only meant as a literary form of Irony)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 21, 2012, 12:30 pm
  13. Great insight, allow me to share with you my analysis over this development:

    Posted by Karim El Mufti | November 11, 2012, 2:12 am
  14. Let’s pause for a moment in honor of all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom!

    Posted by danny | November 11, 2012, 11:47 am


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