Reforming Intelligence: Obstacles to Democratic Control and Effectiveness

By Thomas C. Bruneau; Steven C. Boraz | Go to book overview

EIGHT
ESTABLISHING DEMOCRATIC
CONTROL OF INTELLIGENCE
IN ARGENTINA

Priscila Carlos Brandão Antunes

The involvement of the legislative branch in setting up and controlling intelligence activities is a crucial aspect of establishing democratic control and effectiveness. This supervision must be in accord with two basic parameters: the control of the intelligence operations (which, in order to be effective, need to be secret); and budgetary control, because intelligence is an activity that is highly specialized and, at least in some areas of tradecraft, involves significant technological requirements.

Based on these premises, this chapter discusses the overall importance of the legislative and judicial branches in asserting control over intelligence activities (with the greatest emphasis on the legislative); briefly discusses intelligence reform in the context of civil-military relations reform; describes in detail the path Argentina followed in order to reform intelligence; and analyzes the position of Argentine congressmen in this process, particularly in enacting the National Intelligence Law, finally approved on December 21, 2001, after nearly twenty years of debate.1

In so doing, this chapter explicitly highlights two points emphasized by Tom Bruneau and Steve Boraz in the introduction: reform is both difficult to achieve and often the last major hurdle in democratic consolidation efforts.


LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL CONTROL OF INTELLIGENCE

The institutional consolidation of a democratic system demands the control of intelligence activities. Initially, the discussion about the control of intelligence activities typically raises a high degree of resistance by the intelligence community, since it may result in the ex

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