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 Ministerial Committee for Intelligence and Security 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. The Committee is currently made up of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Economy. The decisions made by the Committee are executed by the Board of 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 informing the government thereof. But the service is also responsible for the protection of foreign VIPs, and 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).
The General Intelligence and Security Service [www.mil.be/is]
The military intelligence service is part of the armed forces. Its first role consists of the collection and analysis of intelligence relating to any activity 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. 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.