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Dr. John M. Nomikos, Director / Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS) Athens, Greece/ Email: rieasinfo@gmail.com, RIEAS: www.rieas.gr

Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP): Reforms and New Tasks in the last two decades (1986-2008)

The restructuring of the Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP) started in 1986 with a new Presidential Decree, N.D. 1645/1986, which put the steps to transform the “Central Intelligence Service (CIS or KYP)” towards its new name – “National Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP).” NIS-EYP constituted a self-standing civil public agency and its political head was then the Minister of Public Order. The mission of the National Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP), as defined in Article 2, of the Presidential Decree 1645/1986, includes the following: (1)

  • 1. The collection, processing and dissemination, to the component Authorities, of information pertaining to the Country’s National Security;
  • 2. Counterintelligence activities focusing on foreign intelligence officers acting against the country;
  • 3. The security of national communications;
  • 4. In time of war or mobilizations the NIS-EYP, in parallel with its above-mentioned powers, also becomes the country’s intelligence staff.

    Recently, the Greek Parliament was debating a significant new law covering intelligence reform and modernization. The new law passed (February 2008) by the Greek Government will modernize the Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP). Several innovations were introduced which will enter NIS-EYP into the 21st century. (2)

  • A District Attorney is appointed and will decide on a purely legal basis whether privacy laws can be lifted in order to support an investigation by the Greek intelligence service;
  • Establishment of a Joint Ministerial Committee including officials from eight most important ministries;
  • Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) which will be responsible of protecting the security of critical networks;
  • Emphasis is placed on training with the creation of a “Training Directorate”, aiming for modern education, training and specialization of personnel;
  • The Sub-Directorate for International Terrorism and Organized Crime has been upgraded in order to reply to the needs of the new era;
  • Emphasis is placed on the Oversight and Accountability Committees at the Greek Parliament;
  • A New Operation Center together with an Open Sources Intelligence Center (OSINT).
  • A New web site (only in Greek).

    The new structure indicates a significant reduction in the number of uniformed staff, which is a development in keeping with the international models in this sector. At last, the Greek government is evidently aware of the increased demands for a productive intelligence service in the 21st century and makes all the necessary steps in order to secure the requisite funds for the Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP).

    Concluding Remarks

    Greece needs a modern and efficient intelligence service that can collect and process information that is able to plan and carry out secret operations for the protection of the national interest. The practice of staffing NIS-EYP with military officials and police officers has failed. It needs a new generation of highly skilled officers and modern technological equipment. (3)

    The NIS-EYP needs to follow the rest of the western intelligence agencies, which have undergone massive internal changes in recent decades that could be said to constitute reforms. NIS-EYP has to change the nature and extent of its recruitment policies; it has to ensure that its staff is more representative of the population it serves; and its management practices to begin to match those in the private sector more closely. However, much of the internal modernization has occurred in the Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP), but it also has to adapt to a new external policy context because of the post Cold War era. (4)

    Overall, intelligence is in an exquisite awkward position in adapting to a changed world. It is a service industry once designed to serve Greek foreign policy. It has to embody the qualities of high national security and professional intelligence competence as well as the undoubted integrity that leaders of the Greek Intelligence Community have always had. But they will also have to have the vision so that they can foresee an Intelligence Community of the 21st century that portrays a realistic, credible, and attractive future, but that at the same time is different and better in important ways than that now existing. Today, more than ever, the Greek Intelligence Service has to deal with a variety of different missions. However, the Greek government should seek to keep the more threatening intelligence operations within reasonable limits, particularly those linked with diplomacy. (5)


  • 1) John M. Nomikos, The Internal Modernization of the Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP), International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 2004, vol. 17, no. 3, pp: 435-448.
  • 2) John M. Nomikos, Looking Back to See Forward: The Greek Intelligence Service in the 21st century, http://rieas.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=582&Itemid=41 – March 2008.
  • 3) John M. Nomikos, Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP): Past, Present and Future, National Security and the Future, 2008, vol 9, no. 1-2, pp: 79-88.
  • 4) Ibid p: 86
  • 5) Ibid p: 87.