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Intelligence Practice and Democratic Oversight




This paper examines the work, the place, and the functioning of intelligenceservices in open and free societies.

The paper considers the various elements that are necessary for creating a coordinated, civilian intelligence structure that is reflective of the needs of a democratic society and the threats to the state, and lists the main criteria for democratic control, supervision, accountability, and oversight of their activities.

Correspondingly, the legal framework, the role, functions and procedures of executive and judicial control and supervision, and of legislative oversight are presented.

In addition, some of the main problems facing states in transition whilst establishing democratic control and with the reform of their intelligence services are discussed.


1. Introduction

2. The Functioning of Intelligence Services
2.1. The Purpose of Intelligence
2.2. Coping with New Risks, Dangers, and Threats
2.3. International Cooperation
2.4. The Categories of Intelligence
2.5. The Functions of Intelligence
2.6. The Intelligence Cycle
2.7. Secrecy
2.8. The Missions of Intelligence Services

2.9. The Organization of Intelligence Services

3. The Legal Framework

4. Democratic Control of Intelligence Services
4.1. Executive Control and Accountability
4.2. Legislative Oversight
4.3. Judicial Control and Supervision
4.4. Informal and Indirect Supervision by the Public
5. Transformation and Reform of Intelligence Services
5.1. Challenges That States in Transition Face When Reforming TheirIntelligence Services
5.2. Replacing the Old System with New and DemocraticallyControlled Intelligence Services
5.3. The Threats to Security and the Impact of September 11, 2001

6. Summary of Conclusions