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Spain: Intelligence Services
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Public Order and Internal Security > The Police System > Intelligence Services

INTELLIGENCE SERVICES


The principal intelligence agency was the Higher Defense Intelligence Center (Centro Superior de Informacion de la Defensa -- CESID), created in 1977 to replace the intelligence organizations of the Francoist period. These included the Political-Social Brigade -- a special branch of the plainclothes corps -- and the Intelligence Service of the Civil Guard. With their files on every part of the rural and urban population, these bodies carried on close surveillance and political intimidation on behalf of the Franco regime.

By a royal decree of January 1984, CESID was defined legally as the intelligence agency of the prime minister. Nevertheless, it was fundamentally military in nature, and its head in 1988 was an army lieutenant general, Emilio Alanso Manglano. Observers speculated, however, that Manglano, who had held the post since 1981, eventually would be succeeded by a civilian.

Employing about 2,000 individuals as of 1988, CESID was staffed primarily by the military, supplemented by 500 members of the Civil Guard and by 80 plainclothes police. About 30 percent of the members of the staff were civilians, said to be selected usually from among close relatives of military officers. Women had been confined largely to administrative tasks, but they were increasingly being entrusted with operational assignments.

The principal operating units were domestic intelligence; foreign intelligence; counterintelligence; economics and technology (primarily industrial espionage); and operational support (principally application of devices for surveillance and eavesdropping). Considerable emphasis in external intelligence was allotted to North Africa and to the security of Ceuta and Melilla. Liaison was maintained with a number of intelligence services of North African and Middle Eastern nations, as well as with the Israeli agency, Mossad. Interception of ship transmissions in the strait area was another focus of activity. Domestic intelligence centered on exposure of plots against the government, monitoring activities of unrecognized political parties, and counterterrorism.

Although CESID was the senior agency, it did not have a firmly established coordinating function over other intelligence bodies, which included the General Headquarters of Information of the Ministry of Defense; the second sections of the army, the air force, and the navy staffs; and the Civil Guard Information Service, dedicated to criminal and terrorist intelligence. In addition, the National Police Corps had a General Commissariat of Intelligence, with an antiterrorist mission that included a Foreign Intelligence Brigade to investigate international terrorism aimed against Spain. Considerable rivalry and overlapping of missions characterized the entire intelligence system. CESID, in particular, was reported to be seeking to gain exclusive jurisdiction over police foreign intelligence activities.

Data as of December 1988




Last Updated: December 1988


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Spain was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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