An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives.
A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by government. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character, since different types of organizations are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however.
Intelligence analysis is the application of individual and collective cognitive methods to weigh data and test hypotheses within a secret socio-cultural context. The descriptions are drawn from what may only be available in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must correlate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Although its practice is found in its purest form inside national intelligence agencies, its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.
Law enforcement is any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society. Although the term may encompass entities such as courts and prisons, it is most frequently applied to those who directly engage in patrols or surveillance to dissuade and discover criminal activity, and those who investigate crimes and apprehend offenders, a task typically carried out by the police or another law enforcement organisation. Furthermore, although law enforcement may be most concerned with the prevention and punishment of crimes, organizations exist to discourage a wide variety of non-criminal violations of rules and norms, effected through the imposition of less severe consequences.
Means of information gathering are both overt and covert and may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources. The assembly and propagation of this information is known as intelligence analysis or intelligence assessment.
Espionage or spying, is the act of obtaining secret or confidential information without the permission of the holder of the information. Spies help agencies uncover secret information. Any individual or spy ring, in the service of a government, company or independent operation, can commit espionage. The practice is clandestine, as it is by definition unwelcome and in many cases illegal and punishable by law. Espionage is a method of "intelligence" gathering which includes information gathering from public sources.
Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether communications between people or from electronic signals not directly used in communication. Signals intelligence is a subset of intelligence collection management.
Cryptanalysis is the study of analyzing information systems in order to study the hidden aspects of the systems. Cryptanalysis is used to breach cryptographic security systems and gain access to the contents of encrypted messages, even if the cryptographic key is unknown.
Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.
Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders. The study of crisis management originated with large-scale industrial and environmental disasters in the 1980s. It is considered to be the most important process in public relations.
A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. Operations may be of a combat or non-combat nature and may be referred to by a code name for the purpose of national security. Military operations are often known for their more generally accepted common usage names than their actual operational objectives.
Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are then incorporated into intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.
There is a distinction between "security intelligence" and "foreign intelligence". Security intelligence pertains to domestic threats (e.g., terrorism, espionage). Foreign intelligence involves information collection relating to the political, or economic activities of foreign states.
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York and at the Pentagon in 2001.
Some agencies have been involved in assassination, arms trafficking, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.
Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious or monetary reasons.
Arms trafficking, also known as gunrunning, is the trafficking of contraband weapons and ammunition. What constitutes legal trade in firearms varies widely, depending on local and national laws.
A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.
A security agency is a governmental organization which conducts intelligence activities for the internal security of a nation. They are the domestic cousins of foreign intelligence agencies, and typically conduct counterintelligence to thwart other countries' foreign intelligence efforts. For example, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the internal intelligence, security and law enforcement agency, while the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an external intelligence service, which deals primarily with intelligence collection overseas. A similar relationship exists in Britain between MI5 and MI6.
The term secret police refers to intelligence, security or police agencies that engage in covert operations against a government's political opponents and dissidents. Secret police organizations are characteristic of totalitarian regimes. Used to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian regime, secret police often, but not always, operate outside the law and are used to repress dissidents and weaken the political opposition, frequently with violence, and torture.
A secret service is a government agency, intelligence agency, or the activities of a government agency, concerned with the gathering of intelligence data. The tasks and powers of a secret service can vary greatly from one country to another. For instance, a country may establish a secret service which has some policing powers but not others. The powers and duties of a government organization may be partly secret and partly not. The organization may be said to operate openly at home and secretly abroad, or vice versa. Secret police and intelligence agencies can usually be considered secret services.
The Swedish Security Service is a Swedish government agency organised under the Ministry of Justice. It operates like a security agency responsible for counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, as well as the protection of dignitaries and the constitution. The Swedish Security Service is also tasked with investigating crimes against national security and terrorist crimes. Its main mission, however, is to prevent crimes, and not to investigate them. Crime prevention is to a large extent based on information acquired via contacts with the regular police force, other authorities and organisations, foreign intelligence and security services, and with the use of various intelligence gathering activities, including interrogations, telephone tapping, covert listening devices, and hidden surveillance cameras.
The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a federation of 16 separate United States government intelligence agencies and a 17th administrative office, that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The IC is overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) making up the seventeen-member Intelligence Community, which itself is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President of the United States.
Intelligence assessment is the development of behavior forecasts or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organisation, based on wide ranges of available overt and covert information. Assessments develop in response to leadership declaration requirements to inform decision making. Assessment may be executed on behalf of a state, military or commercial organisation with ranges of information sources available to each.
The Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) is an Australian government military intelligence agency responsible for strategic intelligence and technical intelligence assessments, advising defence and government decision-making on national security and international security issues, and the planning and conduct of Australian Defence Force operations. The DIO does not collect intelligence or conduct covert action, but also works on defence economics, transnational terrorism, and WMD.
The Directorate of Operations (DO), less formally called the Clandestine Service, is one of the smallest components of the US Central Intelligence Agency. It was known as the Directorate of Plans from 1951 to 1973; as the Directorate of Operations from 1973 to 2005; and as the National Clandestine Service (NCS) from 2005 to 2015.
The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, commonly known as DGFI is the military intelligence section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, tasked with collection, collation, and evaluation of strategic and topographic information, primarily through human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the Bangladeshi intelligence community, the DGFI reports to the Director-General and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President, the Cabinet of Bangladesh, and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh.
The Intelligence Services Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) and the National Intelligence Community (NIC) or National Security Community of the Australian Government are the collectives of statutory intelligence agencies, policy departments, and other government agencies concerned with protecting and advancing the national security and national interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. The intelligence and security agencies of the Australian Government have evolved since the Second World War and the Cold War and saw transformation and expansion during the Global War on Terrorism in response to current international and domestic security issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, cybersecurity, transnational crime, counter-proliferation, support to military operations, and Pacific regional instability.
New Zealand's intelligence agencies and units have existed, with some interruption, since World War II. At present, New Zealand's intelligence community has approximately 550 employees, and has a combined budget of around NZ$145 million.
The Special Collection Service (SCS), codenamed F6, is a highly classified joint U.S. Central Intelligence Agency–National Security Agency program charged with inserting eavesdropping equipment in difficult-to-reach places, such as foreign embassies, communications centers, and foreign government installations. Established in the late 1970s and headquartered in Beltsville, Maryland, the SCS has been involved in operations ranging from the Cold War to the Global War on Terrorism.
The counter-terrorism page primarily deals with special police or military organizations that carry out arrest or direct combat with terrorists. This page deals with the other aspects of counter-terrorism:
The National Security Intelligence(Bengali: জাতীয় নিরাপত্তা গোয়েন্দা), commonly known as the NSI, is the principal intelligence agency of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The NSI's headquarters is in 1 Segunbagicha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The NSI is the leading body of the Government of Bangladesh in the field of internal security, counter terrorism, counter intelligence and foreign intelligence. NSI is the largest among the intelligence agencies in Bangladesh, the others being the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), SB, CID, Army Intelligence, Naval Intelligence among others. The agency stands under the direct authority of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
The CIA publishes organizational charts of its agency. Here are a few examples.
The KGB, translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991. As a direct successor of preceding agencies such as Cheka, NKGB, NKVD and MGB, the committee was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", acting as internal security, intelligence and secret police. Similar agencies were constituted in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from Russia, and consisted of many ministries, state committees and state commissions.
In a pure military context, Technical Intelligence (TECHINT) is intelligence about weapons and equipment used by the armed forces of foreign nations .The related term, scientific and technical intelligence, addresses information collected at the strategic level.
Spying, as well as other intelligence assessment, has existed since ancient times. In the 1980s scholars characterized foreign intelligence as "the missing dimension" of historical scholarship. Since then a large popular and scholarly literature has emerged. Special attention has been paid to World War II, as well as the Cold War era (1947-1989) that was a favorite for novelists and film makers.
The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the government of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence (HUMINT) in support of the UK's national security. SIS is a member of the country's intelligence community and its Chief is accountable to the country's Foreign Secretary.
The Government of the United Kingdom maintains intelligence agencies within several different government departments. The agencies are responsible for collecting and producing foreign and domestic intelligence, providing military intelligence, performing espionage and counter-espionage. Their intelligence assessments contribute to the conduct of the foreign relations of the United Kingdom, maintaining the national security of the United Kingdom, military planning and law enforcement in the United Kingdom. The three main agencies are the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Security Service (MI5), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).