Swiss army planned covert operations in Libya

Hannibal Gaddafi

Hannibal Gaddafi

Swiss intelligence planned three separate covert missions to Libya in 2008 and 2009 in order to free two Swiss businessmen held by Libyan authorities, according to a Swiss newspaper. Citing a confidential document drafted by Switzerland’s ministry of foreign affairs, the Sunday edition of Neue Zürcher Zeitung revealed that one of the three planned missions involved an exploratory visit to Libya by an unnamed Swiss undercover officer. The operative, reportedly an employee of AAD-10, an elite intelligence unit in the Swiss Land Forces, visited Libya in civilian disguise, after legally receiving a visa permit from the government of Libya. According to Neue Zürcher Zeitung, his mission was to prepare an operation to abduct from the hands of Libyan authorities two Swiss citizens, Max Goeldi and Rachid Hamdani. The two had been arrested by Libyan police in July of 2008, during a diplomatic spat between Libya and Switzerland, caused by the arrest in Geneva of Hannibal Gaddafi, fifth son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. A number of previous plans to abduct the two Swiss businessmen had been canceled, reports the paper, due to fears that Tripoli had been made aware of them. But the reconnaissance mission, which involved the recruitment of a number of Bedouin tribesmen, did not go further, as Libya eventually released the two businessmen and normalized its relations with Switzerland. A spokesperson of Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the leak of the document, but refused to comment on the details of Neue Zürcher Zeitung’s revelations.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Swiss army planned covert operations in Libya

  1. jonathan says:

    It would be fascinating to see the Swiss ‘concept of operations’. I don’t doubt that the Swiss could have freed their countrymen but it is the escape part that i doubt would have worked. I don’t imagine Libya has a permissive intelligence environment to allow the rescuers to simply saunter off to be picked up at a beach near Tripoli.
    Just my two shillings.
    Keep up the good work guys!

  2. Mazepynka says:

    In related news, an anonymous source inside AAD-10 has speculated the agent”s choice to infiltrate disguised as a Swiss Guard may have been a contributing factor to the operation’s failure.

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