Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna

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External Intelligence and Security Agency
Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna
Stemma AISE.jpg
Logo del Sistema di informazione per la sicurezza della Repubblica.jpg
The AISE coat of arms
Agency overview
Formed28 August 2007
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction Government of Italy
Headquarters Rome, Piazza Dante 25
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Presidenza del Consiglio dei ministri della Repubblica Italiana
Ministero della Difesa
Ministero degli Affari Esteri
Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza

The Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (in Italian: External Intelligence and Security Agency), commonly known as AISE and formerly known as SISMI , is the foreign intelligence service of Italy. Operating outside Italy the organisation protects Italy's regional interests mainly through the use of HUMINT (Human intelligence). Counterparts in other countries include the UK's MI6, the United States' CIA, Germany's BND, and France's DGSE.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare was the military intelligence agency of Italy from 1977–2007.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.


The agency is currently headed by General Luciano Carta.


Since the end of World War II, Italian intelligence agencies have been reorganized many times:

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Italian intelligence agencies have been reorganized many times since the 1946 birth of the Italian Republic in an attempt to increase their effectiveness and bring them more fully under civilian control.

Servizio Informazioni Operative e Situazione was an Italian military intelligence and security service serving from 1949 until 1997. Its main duty was safeguarding the internal security of military bases and its personnel and military intelligence activities against enemy and foreign forces, especially through SIGINT activities.


Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica, was the domestic intelligence agency of Italy.


Comitato Esecutivo per i Servizi di Informazione e Sicurezza was an Italian government committee whose mission was the coordination of all the intelligence sector, and specifically between the two civilian and military intelligence agencies, with the aim to report all the relevant information collected by it to the political Authorities, represented by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

in an attempt to increase their effectiveness and bring them more fully under civilian control.

Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. The reverse situation, where professional military officers control national politics, is called a military dictatorship. A lack of control over the military may result in a state within a state. One author, paraphrasing Samuel P. Huntington's writings in The Soldier and the State, has summarized the civilian control ideal as "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority".

AISE was founded in 2007 with the reform of the intelligence agencies provided by the Italian 3 August 2007, n. 124 law: new agencies were formed as the Department of Information Security (DIS) and the Homeland Security and Information Agency (AISI).

The Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza is a department of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy, instituted in 2007 as part of the reform of the Italian security services. It is currently headed by Gianni de Gennaro, the successor to General Giuseppe Cucchi, former director of CESIS.

The Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna, commonly known as AISI, is the domestic intelligence agency of Italy. The AISI is the successor of the Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica (SISDE) which was disbanded, and replaced by Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza, after the Act of August 3, 2007 No 124 which restructured the Italian intelligence community. Article 6 of this act clearly prohibits the agency from conducting operations outside Italy.

The reform drastically changed the structure of Italian intelligence, as compared to the 24 October 1977, n. 801 law, it now does not divide the responsibilities between civilian and military structures (i.e. SISDE and SISMI), but along territorial spheres of competence:

aligning Italy with how other countries arrange their services. By law, it is a similar case with the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S.[ citation needed ]


The Agency as provided by Article 6 of law 124/2007, has the task of researching and developing all the necessary information to defend the independence, integrity and security of Italy from threats from abroad, including in implementation of international agreements. AISE also performs activities in the field of counter-proliferation of nuclear materials or materials found to be strategic, and information activities for security outside Italian national territory, to protect Italian political, military, economic, scientific and industrial interests, as well as detecting outside the national territory espionage activities directed against Italy and activities aimed at damaging national interests.

Territorial jurisdiction

AISE can perform operations only outside Italian national territory, as well as Italian embassies abroad. In fact, law expressly forbids AISE to operate in Italy, except if this is strictly necessary for the conduct of its operations. In this case, the rule requires that the operations in the country are only to be done in collaboration with the AISI and the Director General of the DIS shall ensure the necessary forms of coordination and linkage information in order to avoid overlapping of functions or territory.


124/2007 provides that AISE responds to the President of the Council of Ministers, as the authority entrusted with senior management and overall responsibility for information policy for Italian security. Nevertheless, the AISE shall promptly and continuously work with the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior.

AISE is run by a Director appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers. The appointment has the maximum duration of four years and is renewable only once. The Director of AISE consistently refers to the President on the activities of the Council of Ministers or to a delegated authority, if this is established, through the Director General of the DIS. It reports directly to the President of the Council of Ministers in cases of urgency, or where other special circumstances so require, informing the Director General of the DIS without delay.

The Director of AISE is flanked by one or more deputy directors, appointed and dismissed by the President of the Council of Ministers after consultation with the Director. The other positions within the Agency are appointed by the Director of AISE.



The same 2007 law recognizes the Department of Information and Security of the Defence Staff (RIS) which relies on "tasks of general information, technical military and military police, and in particular any business information useful in order to protect principals and the activities of the Armed Forces abroad. The RIS operates in close liaison with the AISE."

AISE and the RIS compete exclusive areas of general intelligence and counterintelligence in particular.

See also

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Carlo Mosca, Gambacurta Stefano, Giuseppe Scandone, Marco Valentini, "The Information and State Secrets (3 August 2007, n. 124)", Giuffre, Milan 2008, ISBN   88-14-14724-8, p. XXVIII - 1.046