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March 14 MP Khaled Zahraman said in a statement issued on Sunday that Internal Security Forces (ISF) General Director Achraf Rifi is authorized to defend the ISF against accusations, especially when “the person who should have been the first to defend [the ISF’s] dignity abandoned it.”

Zahraman’s statement was in response to Interior Minister Ziad Baroud;s criticism of Rifi’s statement. Baroud said that he did not give approval to the statement issued by the ISF defending its Information Bureau and claimed the statement was beyond the ISF’s prerogatives.

“The issue is tied to principles and to the work of institutions, whose role I am keen on (preserving),” Baroud said.

The ISF released a statement on Thursday responding to Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader MP Michel Aoun’s comment that the ISF Information Branch is an “illegitimate branch that has no law,” “kidnaps people for months,” and “spreads rumors about people.”

Aoun’s attacks were reportedly over the leaks following the arrest in early August of retired Brigadier General Fayez Karam, a senior FPM official, on suspicion of collaborating with Israel.

Zahraman also questioned in his statement, why Aoun is now defending Karam after accusing him of betraying him following his arrest .

After Karam was arrested Aoun compared himself to Jesus Christ saying “Even Jesus had treacherous followers”. He referred to Karam as “Judas”.

Zahraman said in his statement that the switch in Aoun’s position may be due to the fact that some within FPM are afraid that the Information Branch will seek to question those who Karam said were aware of his activities!

Attacks on the Information Branch will not change the fact that Karam’s confessions have been officially documented, he added.

Karam was charged with espionage and providing Israel with information on Hezbollah, Aoun’s closest ally.

Karam and Aoun went into exile in France following Aoun’s defeat by the Syrian army in 1990 and both returned to Lebanon in May 2005 , 11 days following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon.

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