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Brazilian Intelligence Agency

Brazilian Intelligence Agency
Agência Brasileira de Inteligência
The Brazilian Intelligence Agency's logo
Agency overview
Formed December 7, 1999 (1999-12-07)
Preceding agency
Annual budget $250 million (2007)[1]
Agency executive
  • Wilson Roberto Trezza, General Director
Parent agency Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil (Institutional Security Cabinet)

The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Serviço Nacional de Informações (SNI) or National Information Service formed during the government of Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco in the mid-1960s.

In attempt to bring intelligence agencies under the control of the civilian-led government as part of the process of democratization that began in Brazil in 1985, President Fernando Collor de Mello replaced the SNI with the short-lived (1990–94) Secretaria de Assuntos Estratégicos (SAE) or Strategic Affairs Secretariat. However, despite the dismissal of 144 SNI officers, the agency continued to be dominated by the military and effective oversight and control of the country's intelligence activities eluded the civilian government.


  • Current agency 1
  • Wiretapping Suspensions 2
  • Current functions 3
  • Motto 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes and references 6
  • External links 7

Current agency

In 1995 President Fernando Henrique Cardoso placed a civilian at the head of the SAE and subsequently created ABIN. Like many other Latin American nations, Brazil faces the challenge of having to overcome a long history of involvement by the military and their related intelligence arms in domestic politics. Early on, ABIN was tainted by a wiretapping and influence peddling scandal that led to the agency being placed under the direct control of the President and the Institutional Security Cabinet rather than being responsible to the national Congress. This had once again undermined the attempt to reduce the influence of the military on Brazilian intelligence agencies and their practises.

However, successive governments have taken a number of steps to reduce the influence of the armed forces and related intelligence agencies in domestic politics. The relationships between these groups and government in Brazil, so closely intertwined for decades, is evolving. The focus of intelligence agencies appears to be moving slowly from managing internal dissent to focusing on external threats and support of the nation's democracy.

Wiretapping Suspensions

On September 1, 2008, President Veja magazine of phone tapping of senior figures including the heads of both the Senate and the Supreme Court.[2]

Current functions

ABIN's main function is to investigate real and potential threats to the Brazilian society and government and defend the Democratic State of Law, the Brazilian sovereignty and the effectiveness of the public power.


The agency's motto is Intelligence for the defense of society, of the democratic Rule of Law and of national interests (Portuguese: A Inteligência em defesa da sociedade, do Estado Democrático de Direito e dos interesses nacionais).

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Brazilian Federal Budget
  2. ^ "Lula suspends Brazil spy chiefs" (BBC)

External links

  • ABIN Official site
  • (Portuguese) ABIN Official site

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