The Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (“GID” or “Mukhabarat”) is engaging in an activity known as ‘reputation laundering’ in the corridors of Washington. The GID is signatory to several public relations agreements with high profile PR agencies in the U.S., designed to legitimate its growing domestic influence vis-a-vis its strategic partners. By undertaking activities once assumed by official state institutions – such as the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Trade – it is equally important that investors take note of the GID’s movements.
- On the 18th of January 2017, two public relations firms based in Washington D.C. signed contracts with Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate to “promote… highlight… showcase…and publicise” the Egyptian government in the United States.
- The deals are part of Cairo’s growing push to cement its position vis-à-vis the U.S. government, following the coming to power of Donald Trump in January 2017; but that these efforts are being led by intelligence chiefs is a cause for concern.
- Poignantly, they amount to evidence that the Intelligence apparatus is embarking on a scheme of ‘reputation laundering’, designed to mask the controversial aspects of its progressively opaque and clandestine rule in the eyes of foreign actors.
- From an investment standpoint, this may ultimately lead to a misrepresentation of the realities in Cairo and impact the ability of investors to make informed decisions regarding operational viability in Egypt.