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Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World. Photo KnowInsiders

In most countries, intelligence is divided into security intelligence and foreign intelligence. Security intelligence is responsible for maintaining domestic security against threats such as terrorism or espionage.

Foreign intelligence is responsible for collecting information related to political and military activities or the economy of other countries.

What is an intelligence agency?

An intelligence agency is a branch of government that gathers and uses data for the purposes of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy.

Espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, collaboration with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources are all examples of overt means of information gathering. Intelligence analysis or assessment refers to the process of compiling and disseminating this data.

Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments:

• analyses in areas that concern national security;

• Inform people in advance of impending crises;

• assist in determining the objectives of present or potential adversaries to aid in national and international crisis management;

• Educate military operations and planning for national defense;

• safeguard the sources and activities of their own sensitive information as well as that of other state agencies;

• may use covert action to affect events in a way that advances national interests or has an impact on international security; and

• opposition to other national intelligence organizations' attempts (counter-intelligence).

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World

The world intelligence community is always full of mystery and unparalleled power. There are small-scale intelligence agencies in small countries, but extremely powerful. There are intelligence activities that are still unclassified historical mysteries. based on figures, feats, historical evidence etc to give a ranking of Top 10 most powerful intelligence agencies worldwide today.

1. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World
Central Intelligence Agency

CIA - The Central Intelligence Agency is an US Government’s agency that operates independently. CIA was established in 1947 after the attack on Pearl Harbor at the end of the second world war. The CIA's primary purpose included the collection, assessment, analysis and dissemination of foreign intelligence information, which will be done in secret.

Some of the operations that the US Central Intelligence Agency carried out were: sabotaging the Siberian pipeline, exploiting Oleg Penkovsky, detecting Soviet missiles being stationed in Cuba.

Who is CIA director?

Bill Burns was officially sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 19, 2021, making him the first career diplomat to serve as Director.

Learning magic tricks was part of the job

While the CIA's capacity to provide national intelligence may seem like magic, it is actually the result of a wide range of abilities, talents, and expertise. On the other hand, there's no harm in dabbling in the mystical. In truth, the CIA collaborated with American magician John Mulholland in the 1950s to compile a book of tricks that might be used by CIA operatives. The techniques covered a wide range, from sleight of hand to tips on how to blend in socially to covert communication.

2. Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), UK

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World
Secret Intelligence Service

The British Security Service was originally created to counter German intelligence in 1909 but was later split into two branches called MI-5 and MI-6.

It was not until 1994 that the existence of the SIS was acknowledged by the government. SIS stands for Secret Intelligence Service also known as MI6 is the intelligence agency of the British government. British intelligence agency is the oldest intelligence agency in the world when it was established in 1909, which means it is more than 100 years old now.

The SIS was established with the task of countering the foreign intelligence services of the Imperial German government between the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the greatest achievements of British intelligence agencies is that in November 2011, it helped capture Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.


MI-6's work is exactly like the James Bond world of espionage, but MI-6's operations are completely top-secret. Unlike MI-5's relatively overt activities, MI-6 collects foreign intelligence in a highly secretive manner.

Under British law, the role of MI-6 is to collect and provide information relating to the activities or schemes of persons outside the UK and must act in the interests of security, national defense, foreign affairs, and foreign affairs. economic and trade within the framework established by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and the ministers.

Unlike MI-5, MI-6 always conducts secret intelligence operations around the world, from Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Africa and most recently, Afghanistan and Iraq. MI-6's role changed dramatically after the end of the Cold War, as the need for counterintelligence against the Soviet Union ceased to be as urgent. However, the threat of international terrorism is also presenting MI-6 with a new responsibility.

3. Mossad, Israel

Mossad in Hebrew means "Institute". This is Israel's national intelligence agency. The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was created in 1949 to collect intelligence, covert operations and to fight terrorism.

Mossad's scale can only be considered as a "little boy" compared to the current world intelligence community with about 900 employees, but works neatly and acts carefully.

The Mossad's primary mission is intelligence gathering and covert operations, including targeted assassinations and paramilitary operations outside of Israel such as the repatriation of Muslims to Israel from countries where migration is not possible. Muslim immigration is prohibited or protected by the Muslim community worldwide.

Since its establishment, Mossad has repeatedly achieved outstanding feats, especially making great contributions to the defense of Israel's national security. The Mossad is only accountable to the prime minister. Domestically, the Mossad has great power, having dominion over Israeli special forces. As the main intelligence agency in the Israeli intelligence community along with the Aman military intelligence agency and the Shin Bet Homeland Security agency, the Mossad has the authority to send reports directly to the prime minister.

The Mossad discovered a Hezbollah agency operating within the United States during the 1990s. The agency assassinated Nazi collaborator Herberts Cukurs in 1965. They also collected information on the Austrian politician Jörg. Haider, murdered Hussein Al Bashir in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1973 and more.

4. Ministry of State Security (MSS), China

Founded in 1983 under leader Deng Xiaoping, Ministry of State Security (MSS) is a merger between the Central Investigation Agency (CID) and the counterintelligence and intelligence agencies of the Ministry of Public Security of China. According to expert Peter Mattis, from the China Studies Program at the Jamestown Foundation, Deng Xiaoping set up MSS in part to put intelligence and counterintelligence work out of high-level political turmoil in Beijing.

China's National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017, identifies three agencies in charge of intelligence work in the country: the Ministry of Public Security, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the MSS.

Chinese law stipulates that the MSS has the same arrest or detention privileges as the police for matters related to national security. The primary mission of the MSS is to gather foreign intelligence from a wide range of countries.

China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) is organized into several departments, each with different missions.

Department 1 (domestic) is responsible for recruiting employees to work for MSS. The selected people will be trained and sent abroad under the guise of: students studying abroad, businessmen, tourism, settlement or other purposes;

Department 2 (foreign affairs) is responsible for intelligence gathering activities abroad. This is also the unit that provides analysis reports to higher intelligence levels based on information obtained from spies;

The 3rd Bureau is in charge of intelligence operations in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and recruits personnel with connections in these territories.

READ MORE: Who is Jake Sullivan - National Security Adviser: Biography, Career, Personal Life and Profile

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), MSS is known as the country's top civilian intelligence agency.

5. Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World
Federal Security Service, Russia

Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia is the general directorate of the Russian Federation established in 1995. FSB has its headquarters located in Lubyanka Square, Moscow.

What is FSB responsibility?

The FSB is in charge of investigating serious crimes and violations of federal law, as well as counterintelligence, surveillance, counterterrorism, and monitoring of anti-Soviet activities, border and internal security, and other similar tasks. In 2003, the FSB merged with the General Department of Border Patrol and the majority of the Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information, expanding its authority and scope (FAPSI)

By presidential decree on March 9, 2004, the FSB was placed under the Ministry of Justice.

Who is FSB director?

The director of the FSB since 2008 is Alexander Bortnikov.

6. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India

Research and Analysis Wing, the reputable intelligence agency in India, was established after the Sino-Indian war in 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani war in 1965.

RAW head office is located in New Delhi. Established in 1968, RAW has the task of counter-terrorism, research and analysis of foreign intelligence.

Many of India's nuclear programs are also secured by RAW. It is an efficient agency and also one of the most vital in the country. Some of the major operations carried out by RAW include Sikkim consolidation operations, Blueprint Kahuta, ELINT targeting China, Operation Chanakya, Cactus, Kargil or 2008 Mumbai attacks and many more.

How many members of RAW?

Initially, there were about $400,000 and 250 employees at the organization. Since then, its workforce has grown to the thousands, but details about its structure and funding have been kept under wraps. The Federation of American Scientists, based in the United States, estimates that RAW had between 8,000 and 10,000 agents and a budget of $145 million in the year 2000.

Unlike the CIA in the United States and MI6 in the United Kingdom, RAW answers to the prime minister rather than the Ministry of Defense. The head of RAW has the official title of secretary (research) in the prime minister's Cabinet Secretariat. The Research and Analysis Service provides some of RAW's officers, while others, like those from the Indian Police Service, serve on deputation.

7. Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany

The Bundesnachrichtendienst is a German foreign intelligence agency with 300 locations in Germany and other countries, founded in 1956. It is a high-tech intelligence agency that exploits international wireless communication networks thanks to its telecommunication. German intelligence services act as an early warning system for Germany, alerting the German government to any foreign threat.

The BND was the decipher of reports from the Libyan Embassy in 1986, which prompted the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Federal Intelligence Service (German: BND, Bundesnachrichtendienst, English: Federal Intelligence Service) is the agency. German intelligence agency responsible for foreign intelligence, and one of the three main intelligence agencies of the Federal Republic of Germany. It depends directly on the Prime Minister's office.

8. General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), France

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World
General Directorate for External Security

DGSE is considered one of the most powerful and well-known security and intelligence agencies in the world. DGSE was established in 1982 with the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence, fighting terrorism.

The French General Directorate for External Security conducts paramilitary and counterintelligence operations abroad together with DGSI - the Directorate for International Security. The DGSE does not disclose its intelligence activities to the public or the media like most other intelligence agencies around the world.

9. Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan

Inter-Services Intelligence is Pakistan's top intelligence agency, known for providing valuable national intelligence to the Pakistani government. ISI was established in 1948, headquarter is located in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is one of the three major intelligence agencies in Pakistan, the other two being the Military Intelligence (MI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). ISI is known to have provided Taliban information support in Afghanistan during the civil war in the 1990s. Formed on the model of the Iranian Intelligence Service SAVAK, ISI collaborates with three intelligence units of the Pakistani military. is Army, Navy, and Air Force intelligence in the collection, analysis, and distribution of military and non-military intelligence.

10. Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

Top 10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies In The World
Australian Secret Intelligence Service

Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) was established in 1952, but only publicly operating since 1977. ASIS is a top reputable secret intelligence agency in Australia. This intelligence agency is based in Canberra, Australia. ASIS is compared to the US CIA and British MI6 in terms of power, roles and responsibilities.

ASIS staff must be Australian citizens, possessing qualities such as integrity, prudence, high reliability, broad understanding, resourcefulness in work, communication skills, ability to persuade people from different cultures and backgrounds into intelligence operations, capable of doing intelligence work in different environments, accepting high-quality training, willing to go anywhere according to their needs.

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