National Intelligence Service (Greece)
|Εθνική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών|
|Formed||May 9, 1953
as the Central Intelligence Service
|Jurisdiction||Government of Greece|
|Motto||"do not discuss confidential affairs"|
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) (Greek: Εθνική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών, ΕΥΠ, Ethniki Ypiresia Pliroforion, EYP) is the national intelligence agency of Greece. Originally modeled after the United States Central Intelligence Agency, it was established in 1953 as the Central Intelligence Service (CIS), specializing in intelligence gathering, counterintelligence activities and securing sensitive state communications.
As Greece's primary intelligence agency, NIS is responsible for a range of domestic and foreign matters, ranging from criminal activities and civil rights violations, to terrorism and espionage. Although its agents can be armed for their protection, the agency does not have prosecutorial and detention powers. During wartime, it can fulfill the role of military intelligence.
Headquartered in Athens, NIS is an autonomous public civilian service subordinate to the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection and in turn the Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction. The majority of its 1,800 personnel are civil servants, although the agency also employs scientific and technical contractors, officers of each branch of the Greek Armed Forces, and members of the Fire Service and Hellenic Police.
NIS's mission is to advance Greece's strategic interests by safeguarding political, financial, and military assets, preventing and countering criminal and military threats and collecting, processing and disseminating information to relevant authorities. This broad mandate grants the organization many responsibilities, including advising policymakers, cooperating with the Military Intelligence Directorate (DDSP) and coordinating with foreign partners.
The Director of the National Intelligence Service is Yiannis Roubatis.
The agency is directly responsible to the Minister for Citizen Protection, who can appoint or dismiss the Director.
NIS employs the following categories of personnel:
- Permanent civilian personnel.
- Scientific civilian personnel, serving on the basis of private contracts of employment.
- A number of officers on active service in the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard or the Hellenic Police. An unspecified number of national field agents are also employed.
The first modern Greek intelligence agency was created in 1924. Until then, officials of the Armed Forces were responsible for such activity.
The agency, in its current form, was founded on 7 May 1953 (Law 2421/1953) under the name Central Intelligence Service (Greek: Κεντρική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών, ΚΥΠ), which it retained until 27 August 1986, when it was renamed and reestablished as the National Intelligence Service by ministerial decree.
The agency was created by influential Greek-American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents, the most famous being Thomas Karamessines, who later rose to become Deputy Director for Plans in the CIA. Its first, most influential and longest-serving Director was Alexandros Natsinas, a Lieutenant General of Artillery and veteran of World War II and the Greek Civil War. He headed the agency from its founding in May 1953 until December 1963.
At the very beginning, the agency appointed an anticommunist role, as the country was under the consequences of the civil war and all the countries at the northern borders, were under communist regimes. KYP was controlled by the CIA; in the first eleven years of its history (1953–1964) its agents received their salaries from the Americans, not the Greek state, until Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, enraged with this level of dependence, stopped this practice. During the Regime of the Colonels (1967–1974), KYP actively continued its anticommunist action.
After Andreas Papandreou came to power in 1981, he was determined to totally control the state apparatus, including the intelligence services, which historically had been staffed exclusively by people with right-wing political views. The external attention was focused on the relations towards Turkey. He appointed as head of KYP Lieutenant General Georgios Politis, a close friend of retired General, Panhellenic Socialist Movement MP and Minister Antonis Drosogiannis; Politis organized a massive purge of right-wing personnel. Ιn 1986 KYP became a civilian agency, EYP, by ministerial decree 1645/86. In recent years, its Directors have been diplomats, while traditionally they were military officers.
Former directors include, Ambassador Bikas, a career diplomat who served in the United States, Canada, and in Algeria and Iraq in the Middle East; when he was stationed in Iraq, Ambassador Bikas was active in securing profitable oil deals for Greece. Bikas has also been the Director of the Greek Foreign Ministry's Press Office, and Director of the Private Office of former President Karolos Papoulias.
N.I.S.'s current Director General is Yiannis Roubatis.
The Deputy Director General, responsible for operations, is Police Director Photis Papageorgiou, an officer of the elite anti-terrorist division of the Greek Police.
The agency's motto is "λόγων απορρήτων εκφοράν μη ποιού" (translated roughly as "do not discuss confidential affairs"), a quote of the Ancient Greek philosopher Periander. The total number of people working for the agency is unknown and remains classified; the Greek media usually give figures of around 3,000.
It is said that there are not more than two agencies all over the planet, with a larger criminal's database than the N.I.S. of Greece. In addition, the classified informations held by the N.I.S. about criminal hubs, activities and organizations operating throughout the European Union, is the second largest in Europe.
- Greek Intelligence Service (NIS-EYP:Past, Present and Future
-  NIS Competencies and Responsibilities
- Act of Legislative Content 215 of 13 October 2009
- ministerial decree 1645/86
- Linardatos, Apo ton Emfylio sti Hounda, 1979
- Economist Foreign report, vol 1805–1840, 1984
- Το Βήμα, 18 Οκτωβρίου 2009
- Official Website of the National Intelligence Agency (English) - (Greek)