The Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (Italian for "External Information and Security Agency"), commonly known as AISE and formerly known as SISMI, is the external intelligence agency of Italy. Operating outside of Italy, the organisation protects Italy's regional interests mainly through the use of HUMINT (Human intelligence).

The agency is currently headed by General Adriano Santini.

History[edit | edit source]

AISE was founded in 2007 with the reform of the intelligence agencies provided by the Italian law of 3 August 2007 n. 124, several agencies were abolished including the Information Service for Military and Security (SISMI) which was replaced by AISE. The Executive Committee for Intelligence and Security (CESIS) and Service for Information and Democratic Security (SISDE) were replaced by the Department of Information Security (DIS) and by the Homeland Security and Information Agency (AISI). The reform drastically changed the structure of the Italian intelligence, as compared to the 1977 Act, it now does not divide the responsibilities between civilian and military structures (ie SISDE and SISMI), but along territorial spheres of competence: AISI only within the borders and AISE only abroad, aligning Italy with how other countries arrange their services. By law, it is a similar case with the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S.

Tasks[edit | edit source]

The Agency as provided by Article 6 of law 124/2007, has the task of researching and developing all the necessary information to defend the independence, integrity and security of Italy from threats from abroad, including in implementation of international agreements. AISE also performs activities in the field of counter-proliferation of nuclear materials or materials found to be strategic, and information activities for security outside Italian national territory, to protect Italian political, military, economic, scientific and industrial interests, as well as detecting outside the national territory espionage activities directed against Italy and activities aimed at damaging national interests.

Territorial jurisdiction[edit | edit source]

AISE can perform operations only outside Italian national territory, as well as Italian embassies abroad. In fact, law expressly forbids AISE to operate in Italy, except if this is strictly necessary for the conduct of its operations. In this case, the rule requires that the operations in the country are only to be done in collaboration with the AISI and the Director General of the DIS shall ensure the necessary forms of coordination and linkage information in order to avoid overlapping of functions or territory.

Organization[edit | edit source]

124/2007 provides that AISE responds to the President of the Council of Ministers, as the authority entrusted with senior management and overall responsibility for information policy for Italian security. Nevertheless, the AISE shall promptly and continuously work with the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior.

AISE is run by a Director appointed by the President of the Council of Ministers. The appointment has the maximum duration of four years and is renewable only once. The Director of AISE consistently refers to the President on the activities of the Council of Ministers or to a delegated authority, if this is established, through the Director General of the DIS. It reports directly to the President of the Council of Ministers in cases of urgency, or where other special circumstances so require, informing the Director General of the DIS without delay.

The Director of AISE is flanked by one or more deputy directors, appointed and dismissed by the President of the Council of Ministers after consultation with the Director. The other positions within the Agency are appointed by the Director of AISE.

Directors[edit | edit source]

  • Bruno Branciforte (4 August 2007 - 4 February 2010), former director of SISMI.[1]
  • General. Adriano Santini, from February 5, 2010

The RIS[edit | edit source]

The same 2007 law recognizes the Department of Information and Security of the Defence Staff (RIS) which relies on military police, and any useful information activities in order to protect the activities of Armed forces abroad, and is not part of the information system security. The RIS operates in close liaison with the AISE.

References[edit | edit source]

Carlo Mosca, Gambacurta Stefano, Giuseppe Scandone, Marco Valentini, "The Information and State Secrets (3 August 2007, n. 124)", Giuffre, Milan 2008, ISBN 88-14-14724-8 , p. XXVIII - 1.046

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:External national intelligence agencies

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