A secret service describes a government agency, or the activities of a government agency, concerned with the gathering of intelligence data. The tasks and powers of a secret service can vary greatly from one country to another. For instance, a country may establish a secret service which has some policing powers (such as surveillance) but not others. The powers and duties of a government organization may be partly secret and partly not. The organization may be said to operate openly at home and secretly abroad, or vice versa. Secret police and intelligence agencies can usually be considered secret services.
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