It’s a given that nations, particularly larger and more powerful nations, require intelligence to keep up with what is happening both within their borders and in the outside world. These organizations work closely with the military, the police, and government offices to monitor matters of national security. When we think of an intelligence agent, there is perhaps no better example than James Bond sipping a martini at the casino, but of course, it isn’t all fun and games for intelligence agencies across the world; these organizations have to prove their worth.
10: ASIS, Australian Secret Intelligence Service
Developed in 1952 as Australia’s national secret service agency, it runs on budget of around 330 million dollars and works closely with America’s CIA and Britain’s MI6. In 1983, the agency made headlines on a mock training mission at the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne, when the exercise resulted in hotel staff and guests being physically assaulted. Keep up the training mates, and you might move up from the number 10 spot next time around.
9: MSS – Ministry of State Security – in China.
Created in 1983, this agency is the result of an amalgamation of the Central Investigation Department, and has shown success in carrying out operations against terrorism in the Greater China region such as Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. Little is known about the extent of their operations, so MSS sits at number 9.
8: RAW, Research and Analysis Wing – in India
With headquarters in New Delhi, RAW was created in 1968 as India’s primary intelligence force following the Sino-Indian and India-Pakistan battles. RAW is responsible for monitoring political, economic, and in-country scientific developments along with playing a massive role in India’s anti-terrorism efforts. And the agency has its own hero. Ravinder Kaushik, also known as the Black Tiger, was a theater artist turned RAW operative who in 1975 converted to Islam, got himself circumcised, and earned his law degree in Pakistan. While undertaking military service, the Black Tiger filtered military intelligence back to India before he was eventually caught and tortured for two years. He then served a prison sentence in Pakistan and remained a national hero, albeit a caged Tiger, ever since.
7: DGSE – Direction Generale De La Securite Exterieure – (France)
France’s leading external intelligence agency was launched in 1982 in Paris and is funded by at least 730M dollars per year. The DGSE proved worthy of their hefty expenditure when in the early 1980s, a Soviet spy network, considered one of the most extensive world networks, was revealed by the agency, and shared with their allies.
6: BND – (Bun-es-nach-rich-tendienst) Bundesnachrichtendienst – Germany
Headquarted in Pullach, Germany in 1956 and with a budget of 832M euros per year, this agency collects information on non-state terrorism, weapons of mass destruction proliferation, and the illegal transfer of technology, money laundering, and illegal migration. Two BND agents struck it lucky when in 2003 they managed to snag Saddam Hussein’s plan to defend the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The German agency passed the information onto American military one month before the invasion and the rest is noted firmly in history.
5. Mossad – The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations – Israel
Intelligence for Israel’s Mossad is crucial for the security of the nation. Established in 1949, the agency was set up to work against terrorism, and is one of the world’s most feared intelligence agencies. Famously, Mossad’s 1960 Operation Garibaldi led to the capture of Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann. The former SS-Lieutenant colonel responsible for mass execution during the Second World War escaped to Argentina where he was captured by Mossad agents, brought back, tried in Israel, found guilty of war crimes, and duly hanged in 1962. Some view Mossad as the best intelligence agency in the world, but owing to their comparable size on the world stage, they are sitting pretty here at number 5.
4 – FSB – Federal Security Bureau of Russian Federation – (Russia).
In fourth place is the FSB. Headquarted in Lubyanka Square, in the Centre of Moscow, this agency is acclaimed for its number of acts against anti-terrorism in the motherland and beyond. Not much in the way of information comes from the Motherland, but we can be sure that their borders and beyond are being kept safe.
3- ISI – Inter-Service Intelligence – in Pakistan
Due to its continuing praise-worthy and daring acts of counter-terrorism, the ISI finds itself in the top three. This agency was created and developed by an Australian-born British Army general officer in 1948 who had served in Pakistan from 1950 to 1959. In 1980, ISI intelligence led to the interception of a plot to kill General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the then president of Pakistan, during a national parade. A bloody coup had been hatched to remove the president and replace the regime with an extremist Islamic government. The ISI swooped in and arrested the would-be-killers and their backers prior to the date of the parade.
2 – CIA – Central Intelligence Agency – in the United States of America.
Formed in 1947, the CIA is the largest of all terrorism agencies with by far the largest budget at 12.8 billion dollars and a massive number of boots on the ground all around the world. It has been said that with something in the region of 21,000 world operatives, the CIA is America’s largest corporation. From 1951 to 1953, the CIA introduced operation BLUEBIRD as an early pre-runner to MK-ULTRA. Mind control experiments, false memories, and new identities were given to subjects who were made to take daily doses of LSD-25 as part of this bizarre social experiment. Because the CIA has conducted the largest, and most well-funded, dubious human experiments in the last century means that in this list, they don’t quite make it to the top spot.
1: MI6 – Military Intelligence Section 6 – in the United Kingdom.
MI6 didn’t even make its own identity public until 1994, and spends over 2.6 billion pounds on counter-terrorism operations every year. The British wrote the book in intelligence, having kept track on enemy spies during the two world wars, and were the seniors in intelligence gathering of that period, and let us not forget that Bletchley Park, working for MI6, cracked the Enigma code and thus shortened World War Two by at least a year. The Brits have also at some point trained most of the intelligence agencies listed above, and for that reason they should surely be considered the best of the bunch. But let’s not forget the true inspiration for James Bond. Dusan Popov was a Serbian who later worked for MI6. He led a playboy lifestyle and took part in the most daring missions MI6 threw at him. Popov is famous for warning the American FBI about the forthcoming attack on Pearl Harbor in August 1941, but his warning wasn’t taken seriously because Edgar Hoover, at the time FBI director, didn’t trust Popov, which in hindsight, wasn’t that intelligent of a move.
So, do you agree with our ordering of top spy agencies? Let us know why or why not in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called British SAS Soldiers vs US Navy Seals! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!