What Are the Functions of an Intelligence Agency?

Every country has a national intelligence agency; more often than not, they have more than one. The term intelligence here refers to the process of gathering crucial and relevant information critical for a country’s domestic or international interests. This is primarily done for the sake of the country’s national security and defense. This is achieved by spying, intercepting communication between foreign authorities, and more importantly, between its military installations. Generally speaking, the task of intercepting and decoding military communication is undertaken by a separate defense intelligence agency, and other international matters are dealt by a higher intelligence agency.

The important functions of the various intelligence agencies can be broadly classified into the following categories:

I. Collection Of Intelligence

It is always the primary objective of any intelligence agency. threat intelligence service These operations are not necessarily conducted within the legal boundaries. Extra legal measures are always employed in pursuit of critical information. Sometimes, on the request of some government official, intelligence agencies also collect information that is already available in the public domain. This is said to be a serious waste of the agency’s resources. Many commissions and other ex-intelligence officers have recommended putting an end to these practices. They argue that the role of these agencies should be limited to obtaining information that cannot otherwise be obtained through conventional channels of communication and other diplomatic contacts and sources.

However, a number of experts say that the viability of individual cases should be evaluated keeping in mind the overall interests of the country’s foreign policy and threats to its security.

II. Analysis Of Obtained Intelligence

Analyzing the raw data and evaluating the threat to the country’s security is the next most important task of any intelligence agency. It involves the assessment of a particular intelligence agency’s significance. A number of hostile organizations keep issuing threats against one or the other country. The intelligence agencies collect information about all such incidents. Though not all of them pose real threat to the security, the process of analyzing involves the discarding irrelevant threats and identifying the real challenges to a nation. It also involves anticipating the time and location of any such hostile activity to prevent that. They also suggest the government to take preemptive measures against any threat that jeopardizes the country’s interest or security on a major scale.

Some roles of organizations, such as geospatial intelligence agency, are limited to the following two functions.

III. Organizing And Executing Covert Operations

A higher intelligence agency also conducts covert operations. The U.S. aid to the Afghan mujahidin during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan is widely considered the history’s biggest covert operation by any country of the world. This comprises providing support for factions hostile to the enemy country. They are also provided with logistic and monetary support. This also involves the use of propaganda against elements hostile to a country.

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