ISA (Days of Our Lives)

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The International Security Alliance (ISA) is a fictional intelligence agency on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. A highly secretive organization, its agents have been operating in the small Midwestern town of Salem at least since its first appearance on the show in the early 1980s (although several characters' histories indicate involvement well back into the mid-to-late 1970s).

Several of Salem's more prominent citizens have served at one time or another as agents for the ISA, including Roman Brady, Philip Kiriakis, Shane Donovan, Steve Johnson, Gabrielle Pascal, John Black, Billie Reed, and Rafe Hernandez. Others such as Bo Brady, Hope Brady, Kimberly Brady, Diana Colville, and Marlena Evans, while not full-fledged agents, have assisted (willingly or unwillingly) in the agency's operations.

The agency was originally portrayed as a multinational crime-fighting task force, well-funded but relatively informal and highly secretive, with agents and operations in every country of the Western world. As time progressed, the ISA was fleshed out into a full-fledged government agency, presumably American although many agents have been British. Although now purportedly an intelligence or "spy" agency, the ISA's mandate still generally appears to be centered on criminal investigations rather than political espionage, with a specialty in the sort of high-level, international criminal activities that has tended to center in the otherwise quiet town of Salem -- such as those controlled by the DiMera, Kiriakis, and Alamain families.

The organization demonstrates frequent and open cooperation with local police, and in contrast with real-life foreign intelligence services, the ISA's agents have demonstrated legal powers of arrest in their own right. However, the most of agency's methodology is straight out of Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming, including sophisticated gadgets, top-secret operations, political intrigue and corruption, and even such questionable methods as assassination and kidnapping. In addition, the ISA has several of its own fairly advanced scientific and medical facilities throughout the world, dealing with problems encountered by its agents such as brainwashing and biological warfare.

Along with blurring the real-world lines between law enforcement and espionage, the ISA appears to operate with impunity throughout the world and across jurisdictional lines, but does not appear to take sides in any real-world political controversy of the day. However effective it may be, the agency has also been occasionally susceptible to infiltration, counterespionage, and corruption by its targets, particularly henchmen of the DiMera, Kiriakis, and Alamain organizations. The agency has also experienced both partnerships and conflicts with real-life agencies such as the FBI and the CIA.

Past directors of the ISA depicted on the show have included George Nickerson, Ogden Vaughn, and James Tarrington. As of 2016, the current ISA Director is Pamela Van Damme.