Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS) (Arabic: دائرة الإستعلام والأمن) (English: Department of Intelligence and Security) is the Algerian state intelligence service. Its existence dates back to the struggle for independence.
The DRS was formed as the Ministère de l’Armement et des Liaisons générales (MALG) 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 Front de libération nationale (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.
MALG was organized under five departments :
- DTN: National Communications department
- DDR: Documentation and Research department, responsible for military research
- DVCR: Vigilance and Counter Intelligence
- DLG: Army post network
- Management of logistics for acquiring, storing, and routing weapons and equipment.
This change of internal organization 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:
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 riots and turmoil 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. Betchine was then replaced by Mohamed Mediène in November 1990, who serves as its head today. Following this, the Services changed its name once again, from DGPS to DRS. 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 a war against the Islamist, and greatly increasing the power of the military—and the DRS—in Algeria’s government.
It was in this period that the DRS reasserted its role in internal security, becoming an active player in the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s. It reportedly had as many as 100,000 agents that infiltrated many segments of society. DRS agents infiltrated and manipulated terrorist groups, and repressed different Islamist groups. It also blocked negotiations both by the ruling and opposition powers with the FIS.
In September 2013, the DRS was reorganized to bring more of its power under the state’s control.
GIS (Groupe d’Intervention Spécial) is a special force (300 members) under the direction of the DRS.