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Chile: Internal Security Intelligence Organizations
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > The Security Forces > Internal Security Intelligence Organizations


In the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup, a semiformal umbrella group, the National Intelligence Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia -- DINA), was formed, ostensibly to coordinate the activities of the intelligence services of the army, navy, air force, Carabineros, and Investigations Police. From the beginning, DINA functioned as a secret police and was engaged in the repression of dissidence within the state and the exaction of revenge on its enemies without. So notorious were its activities that of 957 identified "disappearances" of enemies of the Pinochet regime, DINA was blamed by the Rettig Commission on human rights abuses for perpetrating 392.

DINA has also been linked by prosecutors in the United States, Italy, Argentina, and Chile to the murder of General Carlos Prats, the former commander in chief of the army, in Buenos Aires in 1974; the attempted murder of Bernardo Leighton, the Christian Democratic leader, in Rome in 1974; and the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a former member of the Allende administration and ambassador to the United States under the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular) regime, in Washington in 1976. DINA was abolished in 1977 and replaced by a new organization known as the National Information Center (Centro Nacional de Información -- CNI).

The functions of the CNI combined those functions carried out by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), FBI, and Secret Service. Although human rights abuses abated significantly after the abolition of DINA, its successor continued to draw criticism and was disbanded upon the return of civilian government in 1990. Most of its approximately 2,000 operatives were absorbed either by army intelligence or by a new coordinating body for military intelligence, operating under the aegis of the National Defense Staff and known as the Directorate of National Defense Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de la Defensa Nacional -- DIDN). The DIDN concerns itself primarily with defense rather than with internal intelligence.

The Aylwin government relied mainly on the Investigations Police to combat terrorist groups. Technical assistance has been obtained from Italy and Germany. The Carabineras created a new countersubversive intelligence body in May 1990, the Directorate of Carabineros Political Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia de Carabineros -- Dipolcar). Its previous unit was implicated in human rights violations. In early 1993, the government was finally able to enact new legislation, after more than a year of congressional delays in approving the project, creating the Directorate of Public Security and Information (Dirección de Seguridad Pública e Informaciones). The new directorate is under the Ministry of Interior and allows the ministry to coordinate the intelligence and anticrime and antiterrorist activities of the Carabineros and Investigations Police.

Data as of March 1994

Last Updated: March 1994

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Chile was first published in 1994. 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

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