Italian Intelligence Agencies - 1970s-2007


A scandal rocked Italy and its intelligence agencies in 1977, after the arrest of a former chief of Servizio Informazioni Difesa (SID), General Vito Miceli, for "conspiracy against the state" following the attempted Golpe Borghese (Borghese Coup). Legislative Act n.801 of 24/10/1977 then reorganized intelligence agencies a democratic attempt. This re-organization mainly consisted of:

  • The split of SID, the intelligence agency at that time, into two separate agencies with different roles: SISDE (the domestic one, for the defence of democratic institutions, run by the Interior affairs ministry) and SISMI (the military secret service, run by the Defence Ministry).
  • The creation of CESIS, with a coordination, analysis and direction role between the two intelligence agencies, put under the authority of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and ultimately responsible for the intelligence structure.
  • The creation of the Parliamentary Committee, COPACO, to oversee the activities of the two agencies.

Another scandal succeeded to Prime minister Giulio Andreotti's public revelation, on 24 October 1990, of the existence of Gladio, a stay-behind anti-Communist network supported by NATO which was accused by the Left of having engaged in the "strategy of tension" during the Years of Lead.

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