Friday, October 01, 2010

A European CIA

A European CIA
(Own report) - With the cooperation of the German Foreign Intelligence Service, Brussels is proceeding with the creation of an intelligence service for the EU. The new body, which is to be integrated into the EU's External Affairs Services (EAS) by December 1, will be derived through the expansion of the EU's currently existing Joint Situation Centre (SitCen). The SitCen, which is outside of any parliamentary control, maintains a cell of intelligence services, including the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). It had been established with the objective of providing the EU independence from US intelligence services and a wider range of possible alternatives of action in relationship to Washington. Experts doubt that its current lack of operative competence will be sustained. Critics are already warning against a "European CIA".
Intelligence Service Cell
The Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), currently situated within the European Council in Brussels, is the nucleus of the intelligence service being established by the EU. This institution, with its current staff of 110, which the European Parliament has been vainly seeking to place under parliamentary control, supplies the European Council with important information relevant to foreign policy. The centerpiece of SitCen is a group of delegated intelligence agents, from twelve older and five more recent EU member states, including Germany. Until February 2011, a Frenchman will be heading this intelligence cell, where classified documents are already being exchanged with the individual national intelligence services. SitCen also has a section working round-the-clock evaluating publicly accessible information, not only ordinary news media but also imagery from commercial satellites.[1]
Comprehensive Sources
On December 1, the SitCen is scheduled to be incorporated into the European External Action Service (EAS). For the time being, Brussels is preoccupied with choosing SitCen's next director. Patrice Bergamini, of France, is the current provisional director. He will be competing against a German and an Austrian candidate. In addition, the SitCen is due to be significantly expanded. Also planned is the incorporation of the EU Commission's Crisis Room, charged with evaluating publicly accessible information material with elaborate technological means. The EU's so-called Watch Keeping Capability, comprised of police and military personnel from EU member countries, gathering information from all of the EU's police and military interventions, could also be included in the SitCen expansion.[2] Currently Brussels lists 14 "operations" on three continents. SitCen will also file the reports arriving in Brussels from the EU's future "embassies". And finally SitCen will have comprehensive access to spy satellite data from the individual European nations, including the German SAR Lupe, the French Helios satellites and the Italian system, Cosmo SkyMed.
EU Military Policy
The creation of an EU intelligence service has been in discussion since the early 1990s. At first it was politicians in Paris, who had been anxious to establish a common espionage apparatus. In the mid-90s the discussion also began in Germany. According to the unofficial periodical "Internationale Politik" in 1996, "in the course of the development of a security and defense policy, Europe will need a common intelligence service with capacities yet to be structured to ensure a higher efficiency."[3] This has become a necessity because of the "growing number of military operations" often carried out "in little known environments". The member states are not to give up their national intelligence services, but should combine forces in the appropriate way - also because of the growing complexity and expense of espionage technology.