Smain Lamari was born the son of a taxi-driver in Belfort, on the eastern outskirts of Algiers. He attended high school in Algiers before quitting to join the National Liberation Army (ALN) fighting for independence against France.
He has spent the bulk of his career has in operational units of the intelligence services under their successive acronyms – SM, DGPS and DRS.
Smaïn Lamari, behind the infiltration of numerous Islamist networks inside and outside Algeria, is the perfect synthesis of intelligence agent and man of action. He it is who liaises with the French internal security service, the DST, and with General Philippe Rondot, who coordinates intelligence at the French Ministry of Defence.
Since 1992, he has been head of the intelligence-gathering Internal Security Department (DSI), in charge of the fight against Islamist terrorism and counterespionage. He has led operations against the GIA and Islamist exiles in Europe, and during the first few years of urban terrorism was the de facto head of the Algerian police force. For the last two years, he has been at the heart of negotiations with the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS).