The CIA in the United States is responsible for collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence information to advise the government on national security issues, which includes obtaining data on potential threats, assessing risks and providing analysis to support policy formulation. The agency also conducts covert operations and collects information related to national security. It is an important agency for the security and defense of the United States.
In the UK, this responsibility falls to MI6, whose role is to collect information on external threats to national security, in other words, to operate globally focusing on international issues, espionage and counter-espionage. This role is also fundamental to decision-making on foreign policy and national security issues.
In every other corner of the world, intelligence agencies basically play a role in protecting national interests, as is the case in the US and the UK. Except in Brazil, where it is interesting to note the peculiar focus of our intelligence agencies compared to their foreign counterparts.
While these foreign agencies focus their efforts on external threats, Brazilian agencies have historically preferred to focus their attention on their own feet.
An emblematic example of this dynamic is the trajectory of the DOI-CODI during the military dictatorship. Initially established as an instrument of political repression, it was responsible for planning security and information actions, but in practice this included capturing, investigating and interrogating suspects - to say the least - until it was abolished at the end of the Figueiredo government. The same happened with the SNI (National Information Service), the Dictatorship's main espionage agency against "communist threats", which was abolished by President Collor when he took office and replaced by the Intelligence Department of the Secretariat for Strategic Affairs (DI/SAE). This department was elevated to the status of Undersecretariat of Intelligence (SSI) and in 1999, during the FHC government, the ABIN (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) was created, developing operations that were the responsibility of the former SNI, indicating a continuity in the internal monitoring approach.
We need to question the balance between protecting citizens and preserving individual rights in a context where the threats seem to be predominantly internal. ABIN's role in providing strategic information to the government must be closely monitored to ensure that its actions do not compromise the democratic principles that shape Brazilian society.
And just to mention an episode from our anecdote, Collor's abrupt dismantling of the SNI has its own episode circulating in the corridors of history: while still a presidential candidate, Collor would have been kept waiting for hours by a general with whom he requested a meeting, and that - and that alone - would have been the reason for the SNI's extinction. In fact, what most threatens Brazil externally is still within it, given the damage caused by Lava Jato, which has destroyed national companies to the benefit of foreign competitors.