- National Intelligence Service (Greece)
National Intelligence Service Εθνική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών Agency overview Formed May 9, 1953 as the Central Intelligence Service Jurisdiction Government of Greece Minister responsible Christos Papoutsis, Minister for Citizen Protection Agency executive Kostandinos Bikas, Director General Website www.nis.gr
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) (Greek: Εθνική Υπηρεσία Πληροφοριών, ΕΥΠ, Ethniki Ypiresia Pliroforion, EYP) is the national intelligence agency of Greece. Its headquarters are located in Athens.
The NIS is tasked with safeguarding national security. The mandate is implemented through:
- Intelligence gathering, processing, evaluating and dissemination. This intelligence may be of a political, economic or military nature.
- Countering spying activities by foreign agents.
- Securing national communications.
The Director of the National Intelligence Service is Kostandinos Bikas.
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 agency 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 its name changed to National Intelligence Service, by ministerial decree 1645/86, issued on 28 August.
The agency was created by influential Greek-American 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. From the very beginning, 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 of 1967-1974, KYP actively supported the ruling Colonels in silencing dissent. 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. He appointed as head of KYP Lieutenant General Georgios Politis, a close friend of retired General, PASOK Member of Parliament 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.
EYP's current Director General is Ambassador Konstadinos Bikas, a career diplomat who has served in the United States and Canada, and in Algeria and Iraq in the Middle East; when he was stationed in Iraq, Bikas was active in securing profitable oil deals for Greece. Bikas has also been Director of the Greek Foreign Ministry's Press Office, and Director of the Private Office of President Karolos Papoulias; the President is a ceremonial office in Greece, as power is exercised by the Prime Minister, but President Papoulias still remains a respected and influential figure, whose support proved vital for Bikas. 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 private affairs"), a quote of the Ancient Greek philosopher Periandros. The total number of people working for the agency is unknown and remains classified; the Greek media usually give figures of around 3,000.
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