According to information obtained by Intelligence Newsletter from diplomatic sources in Cairo, Silvan Becker, one of the German Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz's (BfV) senior experts on anti-terrorism, who officially died in a Tripoli hospital on 9 April, was not on vacation as German authorities announced previously. He had in fact arrived in Cairo with his wife in mid-March to work with Egyptian intelligence officers evaluating the results of the embargo on Libya and to compare notes on the latest changes in the Libyan intelligence community and leadership (particularly the disbanding in Sirte of a part of the military general staff and part of the intelligence services). They were also supposed to analyze a new series of appointments to senior positions in the Libyan intelligence services. Becker, who was a Middle East specialist, had traveled regularly to Egypt since 1990. Once his official tasks were finished in Cairo toward 20 March, he and his wife went to Alexandria for a few days to relax and there his trail disappeared. According to unconfirmed information, he was transferred to the headquarters of the Security Organization of the Jamahiriya in Sirte where he was "aggressively" interrogated before being killed.
He was probably caught in a trap set up by the Libyan intelligence services. He also probably thought that the false identity under which he traveled was sufficient protection. Becker was, however, well-known to the Libyan services which considered him one of their most formidable adversaries in Germany.
It was Becker who was responsible for the Libya file at the anti-terrorism section of the BfV for at least the last ten years. In particular, he was in charge of the probe into the bombing of a nightclub frequented by American troops in Berlin in 1985, as well as the Lockerbie bombing. In the latter case he traveled several times to Malta and Cyprus investigating the shipping of the suitcase put on board an airplane at La Valette airport before exploding on the Panam 747. It was probably during these travels that he was identified by officials of Libyan Foreign Security. These are likely to include officials who were trained in Bulgaria and East Germany by the Stasi, such as Nasser Ali Achur, Libyan liaison with the IRA, Said Rached Khaicha, member of the supreme committee of Central Security and former head of the Europe section of the Foreign Security service, Colonel Ali Ibrahim al-Kilani, as well as Colonel Mohamed al-Musrati, former director of Tripoli's international airport.
Becker was also active in investigating the Rabta and Tarhuna factories where Libya has supposedly been developing chemical arms. He apparently made things very difficult for the Libyan officials who were responsible for purchasing German equipment for these factories.
The probable kidnapping of Becker and his wife in Alexandria shows also
the extent to which Libyan intelligence has penetrated the Egyptian
services. It is quite likely that a certain number of Mukhbarat al-Amat
(political intelligence) officers work for Libyan Foreign Security. Colonel
Kadhafi's services are deeply ingrained in local economic activity via
import-export companies, money changing operations and hotels.
Many politicians (ministers and members of parliament) are controlled by
them. Intelligence specialists believe Libya puts $25 millions every
month into financing this Egyptian economic network and therefore guaranteeing
that its "faithful friends" furnish necessary information. An agreement
also guarantees diplomatic immunity to all vehicles belonging to Libyan
presidential services which cross the border at Sallum. Moreover, the permanent
Libyan delegate to the Arab League in Cairo is the former foreign minister
and head of the intelligence services, Ibrahim Bishari [now