Reforming Intelligence: Democracy and Effectiveness

Issue Date July 2006
Volume 17
Issue 3
Page Numbers 28-42
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Reforming national intelligence communities is a critical, if often overlooked, task facing democratizing countries. Democracy requires openness in the flow of information and discussion, while intelligence work often demands secrecy. Maintaining agencies to do such work in the midst of a generally open political culture is a challenge for any democracy. Democratizing or newly democratic countries, however, must deal with the even more arduous task of transforming intelligence bureaucracies that once served undemocratic regimes. Happily, intelligence agencies brought under civilian, democratic control may also become better at their core job of protecting free nations from deadly threats.