Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


The Brazilian Intelligence Agency

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


When we talk about intelligence services provided by the state we normally think of the CIA or FBI from United States, but not about Brazil. Brazil also has its own intelligence agency called ABIN. In this article you will find out how this agency was created and its functions in Brazil.

The history of intelligence activity in Brazil originated in 1927, when it created the National Defense Council, a body directly overseen by the President. Until then, the activity was exercised only by the military ministries. Several reforms were then introduced into the activity information along the national political process. Among them:

  • 1946: Federal Information and Counter Information (SFICI)
  • 1964: National Information Service (SNI)
  • 1970: National Information System (SISNI)
  • 1990: Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (SAE)

Only in 1999 did the Brazilian president establish the Brazilian Intelligence System (SISBIN) and created the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN). The creation of the agency allowed the Brazilian state to institutionalize intelligence activity through coordinated action of the information flow necessary for government decisions.

All information regarding the exploitation of opportunities, the antagonisms and the real or potential threats for the highest interests of society and of the country should be coordinated by SISBIN and ABIN.

Introduction to ABIN

ABIN, is the central organization of the Brazilian Intelligence System (SISBIN). It is empowered to advise the head of state in the discharge of their functions, especially in preventive, assuring him advance knowledge of facts and circumstances relating to society's welfare and the development and security of the country.

For being an organization of the state, ABIN has no political affiliation with any Brazilian party. The agency is an instrument of the state turned for the defense of the Brazilian society as its main objectives. These are:

  • make the product provided by ABIN essential to the national decision-making process
  • increase the added value of the ABIN product
  • engage servers in the pursuit of common goals
  • adequate structure and legal framework


As the most important organization of the Brazilian Intelligence System, Abin acts in two different ways:

  • Intelligence: through the production of knowledge about facts and situations of immediate or potential influence on decision-making and action in government and on the safeguard of society and the State.
  • Counter Intelligence: through the adoption of measures to protect the confidential matters relevant to the state and society and to neutralize intelligence actions performed for the benefit of foreign interests.

This division's objective is to attend the routine needs of presidential decision-making. ABIN,operates in the tracking of emerging facts, foreseeable or not, in order to anticipate opportunities and potential threats to the democratic state of law.

Competencies of ABIN

ABIN's focus is to plan, implement, coordinate, supervise and control the activities of intelligence of the country. ABIN is also responsible for:

  • Running the national intelligence policy and the consequent actions.
  • Planing and executing actions – including sensitive issues, for collecting and analyzing data – for the production of knowledge designated to advise the president of the republic.
  • Plan and execute the protection of confidential knowledge, related to the interests and security of the state and society.
  • Evaluate internal and external threats to the constitutional order.
  • Promote the development of human resources and of the doctrine of intelligence.
  • Conduct studies and research for the exercise and improvement of the intelligence activity.

Government Supervision

The actions of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency are controlled and monitored by the executive and legislative branches. The internal control is done by the executive through the:

  • Board of Foreign Affairs and National Defense that is responsible for the supervision and execution of the national intelligence.
  • Secretariat of Internal Control of the Presidency (CISET), which inspects the application of budget funds.

The external control lies on the legislative branch and it is exercised by:

  • Federal Court of Auditors that should manage budgetary resources.
  • Joint Commission of the National Congress that monitor the actions of the National Intelligence.