STRUCTURAL CHANGE AND
DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF
INTELLIGENCE IN BRAZIL
Structural change has been the main feature of the Brazilian intelligence sector since 1999. In order to evaluate the achievements, failures, and consequences of this structural change, this chapter will explore two separate paths simultaneously.
Regarding the first path, one must start searching for an explanation for the causal nexus between the processes of institutional transformation (i.e., organizational and legal changes) and degrees of democratic control. It is important to know how much the changes observed in a country are congruent with the nature of a political regime. It is similarly important to note how different levels of democratic control over intelligence activities are affected by these same empirically observed structural changes. The second path is also a rough one, because the information that exists regarding the aforementioned structural changes is varied and diverse. The intent in this chapter, then, is to show the processes that exist within the reformed Brazilian intelligence system and to analyze both their limits and their potential.1 In order to do this, the chapter is organized into four parts. First, in this introduction, two general premises about intelligence are briefly stated, and the working hypothesis that bounds this work is specified. Next, I will discuss the nature of the present Brazilian political regime, as well as some indicators of the current level of the state’s capability to conduct intelligence activity. Then changes in the organizational and legal framework of the intelligence system of this country throughout the period 1999–2005 will be presented. I will conclude with a brief and tentative evaluation of the impact of such changes on the level of democratic control and on the effectiveness of Brazilian intelligence services.
The first premise supposes the presence of intelligence services that are legitimate and effective as a necessary condition for a democratic