An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to the information gathering (known in the context as "intelligence") for purposes of national security and defense. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources. The assembly and propagation of this information is known as intelligence analysis.
Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.
- provide analysis in areas relevant to national security;
- give early warning of impending crises;
- serve national and international crisis management by helping to discern the intentions of current or potential opponents;
- inform national defense planning and military operations;
- protect secrets, both of their own sources and activities, and those of other state agencies; and
- may act covertly to influence the outcome of events in favor of national interests
Some agencies are accused of being involved in assassination, arms sales, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.
- Intelligence (information gathering)
- List of intelligence agencies
- List of intelligence gathering disciplines
- List of primary and secondary sources on the Cold War
- Secret police
- Secret service
- Security agency
- United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
- Encyclopedia of espionage, intelligence, and security, hrg. von K. Lee Lerner und Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 3 Bände, Detroit [u.a.] : Gale [u.a.], 2004
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Common Courage Press, 2003
- Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence, Yale University Press, 2002
- Richard C. S. Trahair, Encyclopedia of Cold War espionage, spies, and secret operations, Westport, Conn. [u.a.] : Greenwood Press, 2004
- Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by design : the evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC, Stanford, Calif. : Stanford Univ. Press, 1999
- The journal of intelligence history