SISMI - History

History

Since the end of World War II, Italian intelligence agencies have been reorganized many times (SIM 1900-49, SIFAR 1949-65, SIOS 1949-97, SID 1965-77, SISDE, SISMI, 1977–2007) in an attempt to increase their effectiveness and bring them more fully under civilian control.

The agency was established as part of a broader reform of the Italian intelligence community, which represented the latest in a long string of government attempts to effectively manage Italy's intelligence agencies.

  • In 1977, with Legislative Act n.801, the SISMI was created after a former chief of the SID, Vito Miceli, was arrested for "conspiring against the State" (See Golpe Borghese). Thus the intelligence agencies were reorganized in 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) and SISMI (the military one).
    • The creation of CESIS, with a coordination role between the two intelligence agencies and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
    • The creation of the Parliamentary Committee, COPACO, to oversee the activities of the two agencies.
  • Since 1 August 2007, with Legislative Act n.124 of 08/03/2007, following the reform of the Italian intelligence agencies, SISDE, SISMI and CESIS were replaced respectively by AISI, AISE and DIS, and the COPACO was granted additional oversight and control powers.

The first director of the service was Giuseppe Santovito (1978–1981), succeeded by General Nino Lugaresi was SISMI's director from 1981 to 1984; he testified on Gladio. General Nicolò Pollari was SISMI's second last director; he resigned on 20 November 2006 after being indicted in the Imam Rapito affair, so Prime Minister Romano Prodi replaced him with Admiral Bruno Branciforte.

Admiral Bruno Branciforte was SISMI's last director, in charge until 3 August 2007.

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