Intelligence: Sharing Secrets

Since the destruction of the twin towers it has been clear that the world’s greatest intelligence organisations can alone no longer protect America.

The World Today Updated 26 October 2020 Published 1 December 2001 6 minute READ

Michael Herman

Senior Associate Member, St. Antony's College, Oxford

The breach of security was so great, the need for information so overwhelming. Schemes to restructure US agencies are already appearing. New alliances are also needed to collect secrets which must then be analysed and shared to maintain the international coalition.

September 11 has changed the visibility of intelligence services, just as it has changed so much else. The Cold War had already made them permanent, sizeable institutions everywhere. Investments in them had dipped in the early 1990s, but not by much, and were already rising again. The annual American budget before September was around $30 billion; the British over a billion pounds ($1.4 billion), more than on the diplomatic service, a twentieth of the defence budget, though much less than Third World aid. No one knows what is spent on intelligence in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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