Daughter of senior intelligence officer worked for Morocco DGED

Tags : Spain, Morocco, DGED, Bárbara Barón, Ahmed Charai, Enrique García Castaño,

The daughter of the General Commissioner for Information worked for years in Spain for Moroccan intelligence

Bárbara Barón was hired by Ahmed Charai, public relations for the foreign secret service, to help her defend Moroccan interests in Spain

By Ignacio Cembrero | José Bautista

03/12/2023 – 05:00


Bárbara Barón, a journalist, worked for many years for the Moroccan foreign secret service when her father, Enrique Barón, was the General Commissioner of Information of the National Police, a position he held January 2012 to December 2017. Today he is the provincial chief in Malaga in the Police.

Bárbara Barón’s link with the General Directorate of Studies and Documentation (DGED), Moroccan foreign espionage, was reflected in WhatsApp messages exchanged on September 24, 2017 between Commissioner Enrique García Castaño, then head of the Central Unit of Operational Support of the National Police, and Francisco Martínez, who until November 2016 was Secretary of State for Security. The chats appear in the summary of the so-called Kitchen case.

Commissioner García Castaño first explained to the former number two of the Ministry of the Interior that the National Intelligence Center (CNI) « has an exclusive department for Morocco. » He then adds: « watch Ahmed Charai, [who] controls the media, comes to Spain a lot, works for Moroccan intelligence (…) ». « You know who he sees, with [Enrique] Barón, with [Samy] Cohen and Barón’s daughter whom he pays to write articles for the Moroccan Observateur, » he concludes. Samy Cohen is a businessman and leader of the Jewish community in Madrid who was investigated last September by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having allegedly usurped the role of a diplomat during some of his stays in Morocco, although he does not belong to the body. He did it, according to the Tel Aviv press, with the help of David Govrin, head of the Israeli mission in Rabat. Govrin was sanctioned and removed from his post that same month.

Cohen told El Confidencial that he « has no relationship with Mr. Charai » and categorically denied having worked for any secret service. Ahmed Charai is the owner of Global Media Holding, a press group that includes the weekly L’Observateur du Maroc, to which García Castaño refers. In the hundreds of cables and emails from Moroccan diplomacy and secret services spread anonymously via Twitter in the fall of 2014, Charai acts as the public relations officer for Morocco’s foreign intelligence agency. The DGED is the only secret service that reports directly to the royal palace. It is directed by Yassin Mansouri who was a schoolmate of King Mohamed VI.

“The DGED is the only secret service that reports directly to the royal palace. It is directed by Mansouri, who was a schoolmate of the king. ”Bárbara Barón agreed to meet with El Confidencial, but she declined to answer questions about her relationship with the DGED. Ahmed Charai did not reply to the emails or WhatsApp that were sent to him either, and Commissioner Enrique Barón, who was contacted by this newspaper through the National Police Press Office, also remained silent. Charai’s work has focused heavily on journalists and the media. In the fall of 2014, documents surfaced on Twitterin which he consulted the remuneration of journalists with Mourad El Ghoul, chief of staff of the director of the DGED. The recipients of these payments were four well-known French journalists and one American, but all of them denied having received money from L’Observateur du Maroc.

A judgment of November 4, 2015 of the court of first instance 46 of Madrid further confirms that Charai is a close collaborator of Moroccan intelligence. His press group « belongs in practice to the DGED », affirms the Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet, exiled in Barcelona. Contrary to what Commissioner García Castaño stated, Barbara Barón did not publish articles in L’Observateur du Maroc. She did appear on social networks and websites as a correspondent in Spain for that weekly and for Pouvoirs d’Afrique, another publication that belongs to Ahmed Charai. He combined this correspondent, according to her, with the Spanish media in which he was working in those years (La Información, Grupo Merca2, etc.). The journalist prepared for Charai his trips to Spain, especially Madrid, and accompanied him to some of the appointments with politicians.

Since he set foot on Spanish soil, the Moroccan agent was followed step by step by the CNI, according to sources linked to the Spanish secret service.

The main public activity of Bárbara Barón was the publication for years of apparently informative articles, in a Madrid newspaper, favorable to the Moroccan authorities and critical of the opposition, as well as the Polisario Front. Charai himself wrote opinion forums in that same newspaper, the last one last January. « International Amnesty and the British intelligence agency MI6: Dangerous partners! », was, for example, the title of a chronicle by Bárbara Barón, published on July 2, 2020, in which she attacked the Moroccan journalist Omar Radi who he is now serving a six-year prison sentence.

« When the editorial writer Abou Al Riffi corrects Moulay Hicham » was another of the headlines that put an article. Moulay Hicham is the wayward member of the Alawite royal family and the editorial writer he names does not exist. It is a collective pseudonym used by the Moroccan secret services to settle accounts through the press. Several of Barbara Barón’s publications served to praise the King of Morocco, such as the one entitled, on July 31, 2021, « Mohamed VI extends his hand to Algeria and seeks reconciliation. » There was also praise for senior officials, for example, on February 9, 2021, in the following chronicle: « The head of the Moroccan DGST, Abdellatif Hammouchi, receives recognition from the US. » The General Directorate for Territory Supervision (DGST) is the Moroccan secret police.

The Moroccan official press has frequently echoed the articles by Charai and Barón published in Spain. He stressed that they highlight the country’s progress and shed light on the maneuvers of Morocco’s detractors. The CNI assures, in a confidential report sent to La Moncloa on June 24, 2021, in the midst of the crisis between Spain and Morocco, that the DGED « tries to influence the media to generate a current of opinion favorable to Morocco and discredit to the Polisario Front” that fights for the independence of Western Sahara.

Bárbara Barón did another favor for Abdellatif Hammouchi because Charai requested it. He sent his collaborator in Madrid, on September 15 at 3:00 p.m., the photo of Hammouchi receiving Esperanza Casteleiro, the new director of the CNI, in Rabat. She asked him to spread it to related Spanish media and she did so immediately, according to eyewitnesses. This is how the news broke that the head of the Spanish spies was in Rabat.

Casteleiro did not think that the photo taken in Rabat would be distributed and did not want his visit to be made public. Hammouchi, on the other hand, accused of spying on dozens of European politicians and journalists with the malicious program Pegasus, wanted this meeting to be publicized to show that he was still a valid interlocutor for foreign intelligence chiefs. Not only Bárbara Barón spread the photo. Hours later, the official Moroccan press agency MAP did the same, and the Spanish agency EFE took it from there, which also distributed it.


The CNI points out that this episode caused great discomfort because the meeting was organized in the strictest secrecy when Spain and Morocco had begun to rebuild their relations after more than a year of tension. Casteleiro agreed to be photographed, according to the same sources, because Hammouchi assured him that these images would not be disclosed, but would serve as a mere memory of their meeting.

Long before beginning to practice journalism, Barbara Barón already made herself known in the press. At the beginning of June 2014, she published a report in the magazine of the Madrid Francisco de Vitoria University where she was studying that degree. In it she recounted in first person how she had participated embedded in an anti-jihadist operation, on the outskirts of Madrid, carried out by the Special Operations Group of the police, as revealed by ElDiario.es. Never, until then, had any journalist enjoyed such a privilege. This royalty was then attributed to her father, who was General Commissioner of Information and, as such, responsible for the fight against terrorism.

This luck was attributed to her father who was responsible for the fight against terrorism

Long before publishing his first articles in the Spanish press, Ahmed Charai also made himself known in 2008, in the world of European intelligence, when he carried out a smear operation against former President José María Aznar. He then disclosed through L’Observateur du Maroc the false news that he was the father of the daughter that the French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati, was expecting. She did not want to reveal who the parent was. To give credence to the « news », the Spanish weekly Interviú then received some anonymous photos in which Aznar and Dati were seen together at the exit of a restaurant in Paris. Charai was sentenced in October 2011, by the Provincial Court of Madrid, for « illegitimate interference in the right to honor » by publishing « untrue information » about the former president.


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