Introduction to Italian Intelligence Agencies — PART III : The 2007 Legal Reform

The intelligence services are forbidden from employing or commissioning advisory or co-operation services from elected politicians at the European, national, regional and local level, members of governing bodies or constitutional bodies, judges, religious ministers and journalists.”

Corriere della Sera — 25.7.2007

In August 2007, Italy reorganized its Intelligence agencies and their Oversight Committee. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

The first post of this series explained that the decision to reorganize the Italian Intelligence Community (IC) was made because of a long series of scandals. In Part II, the old structure of the Italian IC was briefly described. In this post, we review the current structure of the Italian Intelligence services.

RELATED POST: Introduction to Italian Intelligence Agencies — PART I : The Scandals

RELATED POST: Introduction to Italian Intelligence Agencies — PART II : The last scandal under the 1977 Legal Framework

Legislative Act n.124 of 08/03/2007 reformed of the Italian intelligence agencies. SISDE, SISMI and CESIS were replaced respectively by AISI, AISE and DIS. The reform does not merely rename the old agencies. The new structure is fundamentally different from the previous system.

The COPACO was renamed COPASIR (Comitato Parlamentare per la Sicurezza della Repubblica, Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic) and granted additional oversight and control powers.

Intelligence System for the Security of the Republic

Italy’s “Intelligence System for the Security of the Republic” is the collective name given to the authorities and organizations responsible for intelligence policies, intelligence coordination and intelligence operations.

The Security Intelligence System includes:

the President of the Council of Ministers

the Delegated Authority

the CISR – Comitato Interministeriale per la Sicurezza della Repubblica [Interministerial Committee for the Security of the Republic]

the DIS – Dipartimento Informazioni per la Sicurezza [Security Intelligence Department]

the AISE – Agenzia informazioni e sicurezza esterna [External Intelligence and Security Agency]

the AISI – Agenzia informazioni e sicurezza interna [Internal Intelligence and Security Agency]

AISI

The Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna (Italian for “Internal Information and Security Agency”), 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 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 motto of the agency is “scientia rerum reipublicae salus” (knowledge of issues is the salvation of the Republic. [Wikipedia]

AISI is responsible for safeguarding national security from threats originating within Italy’s borders, and for protecting Italy’s political, military, economic, scientific and industrial interests.

The AISI:

  • collects relevant intelligence
  • counters espionage and other hostile activities within national borders
  • counters subversion, criminal and terrorist activity in Italy

The Director of the AISI is appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers, after prior consultation with the CISR. The first director of the agency was Franco Gabrielli, who had led SISDE until it was disbanded. He was replaced by Carabinieri General Giorgio Piccirillo in 2009. The current Director is General Mario Parente.

AISE

The Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (Italian for “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). [Wikipedia]

AISE is responsible for safeguarding national security against threats originating abroad, protecting Italy’s political, military, economic, scientific and industrial interests.

In particular, the AISE:

  • collects relevant intelligence
  • counters espionage and other hostile activities abroad
  • counters WMD proliferation

The Director of the AISE is appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers, after prior consultation with the CISR. The agency is currently headed by General Alberto Manenti (Born in Libya — March 1952).

DIS

The Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza (DIS, “Department of Information Security”) 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.

The department is divided into several functional areas. The Central Security Office (Ufficio Centrale per la Sicurezza) deals specifically with administrative protection of state secrets, including the granting or withdrawal of security clearance to individuals and organisations (“Nulla Osta Security”).

The Office of the Central Archives (L’Ufficio Centrale degli Archivi) coordinates and manages the data in the possession of the Italian secret services, and the Training School (Scuola di Formazione) is responsible for the training of government and civilian staff. [Wikipedia]

In order to ensure a fully unified approach to intelligence collection, analysis and operations, the DIS:

  • coordinates all intelligence activities, including national cybersecurity, and review results
  • submits relevant information collected by the Agencies to the President of the Council of Ministers and provide strategic analysis and assessments to policy-makers
  • ensures the exchange of information between AISE/AISI and police forces

Moreover, the DIS:

  • oversees,  through the Central Inspection Office, the activities carried out by AISE and AISI
  • ensures the application of the directives issued by the President of the Council of Ministers regarding the administrative protection of State secrets and classified documents
  • sees to the management of the personnel and logistics for DIS, AISE and AISI
  • sees to institutional communication and the promotion of the culture of security

The DIS includes the Central Inspection Office, the Central Archives Office, the Central Secrecy Office (UCSe) and the Intelligence Academy.

The Director General of the DIS is appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers, after prior consultation with the CISR. The Director General of the DIS is Mr. Alessandro Pansa.

RELATED POST: US Historian: “CIA concluded GRU behind John Paul II assassination attempt”

RELATED POST: Former CIA Officer Sabrina de Sousa forced to testify in Italy on ‘rendition program’

REFERENCES

Italy’s Intelligence System for the Security of the Republic — About us

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Introduction to Italian Intelligence Agencies — PART III : The 2007 Legal Reform

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