EU: EU setting up intelligence "agency", according to minutes of Coucil's Article 36 Committee

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EU setting up intelligence "agency": The "Outcomes" (Minutes) of the Council's Article 36 Committee (11 February 2010, pdf) revealed that SITCEN (the EU's Joint Situation Centre intelligence-gathering unit) is to be "integrated" into the new EU External Action Service (EAS). This is confirmed in the euobserver story: EU diplomats to benefit from new intelligence hub (link). The Council of the European Union is planning to merge: SITCEN (110 seconded intelligence staff) which pools information, prepares reports and maintains 24/7 alert desk on open sources with two to three e-mails a day; the Watch-Keeping Capability (12 staff from police and armed forces) sends out alerts from the EU's 23 police-military missions around the world; and the Crisis Room (6 staff) operates a secure website with open source news on the 118 "active conflicts" going on globally together reports from the Commission's official 130 Delegations and offices based around the world.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Mr Solana, the Council previous High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, was always frustrated because European Commission Delegations (Embassies) could not collect and act on locally gathered intelligence. To try and plug the gap he transferred SITCEN from the WEU and set up his own network of eleven Special Representatives (EUSRs) in different regions of the world. Now the merging of SITCEN, the Watch-Keeping Capability and the Crisis Room under the EAS marks the beginnings of an fully-fledged EU intelligence agency.

We should be under no illusions. Despite the predictable denials it is only a matter of time before intelligence-gathering develops into intelligence-led operations with agents in the field acting to further and "protect" EU interests with its own version of MI6 or the CIA."

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