What do intelligence and security services stand for?
In Belgium, there are only two intelligence and security services. State Security is the civil intelligence service. The service primarily is under the authority of the Minister of Justice. Sometimes, however, it acts under the authority of the Minister of the Interior. The General Intelligence and Security Service of the armed forces is the military intelligence service. It is under the authority of the Minister of Defence.
The National Security Council is the political body which determines the general intelligence policy of the governement. It takes political and legislative initiatives with regard to intelligence and security.
State Security carries out various missions. The most well-known is undoubtedly the collection and analysis of information that reveals a threat to the continued existence of the democratic, constitutional and welfare state and to the scientific and economic potential of the State, and informing the government thereof. But the service is also responsible for vetting procedures in accordance with the 11 December 1998 Act on classification and security clearances, certificates and advice. State Security can also lend assistance and technical support in the framework of judicial investigations (e.g. terrorist case). In accordance with the Act of 29 January 2016 modifying the Intelligence Services Act of 30 November 1998, the two intelligence services can collect, analyze and process intelligence relating to any activities engaged by foreign intelligence services on Belgian soil.
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The General Intelligence and Security Service
The military intelligence service is part of the armed forces. Its first role consists of the collection analysis and processing of intelligence relating to any activities that threatens or could threaten the inviolability of the national territory, the military defence plans, the performance of the roles of the armed forces, or the security of Belgian nationals abroad. In accordance with the Act of 29 January 2016 (supra), its mission is extended to the activities engaged by foreign intelligence services on Belgian soil. Moreover, the GISS must ensure the military security of the personnel that come under Defence, military installations and secrets and the scientific and economic potential. It must also neutralise any cyber attacks and identify their perpetrators. Just like State Security, the military intelligence service also carries out vetting procedures regarding individuals who are supposed to be given access to secret information in their professional lives. The GISS can also lend assistance or technical support to the judicial authorities.
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