Florida Brazil

National Intelligence Service in Brazil

 
Search for Brazil Information
Brazil Resource Center

 

Brazil National Intelligence Service 1964-90



The National Intelligence Service, 1964-90
The military-dominated SNI, which the Castelo Branco government created in 1964, was intended originally as a civilian agency of the executive branch. Initially, the SNI, under retired General Golbery do Couto e Silva, freed Castelo from dependence on army and Federal Police intelligence reports. The then head of the army, General Costa e Silva, feared that the new agency would weaken the army's secret service. However, by the end of 1968, with the triumph of the hard-liners, the SNI took on a military coloration. In 1973 it secured its dominance over the so-called intelligence community with the opening of the National Intelligence School (Escola Nacional de Informações--EsNI) in Brasília. The following year, the EsNI absorbed the ESG postgraduate intelligence course. Supposedly, the EsNI did not train police agents, and it selected its own students. By 1980 some officers were saying that the EsNI would be as useful as the ESG to their careers.

Alfred Stepan observed that the SNI differed from similar agencies in other countries in that it enjoyed a near monopoly over operations and training, and that the SNI chief had ministerial rank and therefore sat in the president's cabinet. In addition, he has pointed out that the SNI had an official in every government agency, in state-owned businesses, and at one point in the universities. These officials followed the daily functioning of the administrative machinery to ensure conformity with national security goals. Moreover, the SNI was autonomous, even regarding finances.

The SNI served as the backbone of the military regime's system of control and repression. Although there have been secret police in Brazil since at least the Vargas era, military involvement reached new heights with the creation of the SNI. The SNI grew out of the Institute for Research and Social Studies (Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Sociais--IPES), which General Couto e Silva had established to undermine the Goulart government. The SNI provided clearances for anyone seeking a government job or requesting to conduct research in the army archives. Using an elaborate system of informants and telephone taps, the SNI accumulated and analyzed reports on a wide range of people, organizations, and topics. One study by political scientists David V. Fleischer and the late Robert Wesson suggests that there were as many as 50,000 persons in the employ of the SNI during the 1964-85 regime. Furthermore, both Presidents Médici and Figueiredo had been SNI chiefs.

In theory, the SNI supervised and coordinated the intelligence agencies of the three services. However, in practice the service agencies maintained their autonomy. The service agencies included the Army Intelligence Center (Centro de Informações do Exército--CIE); the Air Force Intelligence Center (Centro de Informações da Aeronáutica--CIA); and the Naval Intelligence Center (Centro de Informações de Marinha--Cenimar).

The chief of staff of each of the army commands supposedly was responsible for the intelligence work in that command's territory. In practice, that officer was not necessarily informed of CIE activities, which followed a parallel chain of command. Each command also had an Internal Operations Department-Internal Defense Operations Center (Departamento de Operações Internas-Centro de Operações de Defesa Interna--DOI-CODI). The DOI-CODIs became centers of dirty tricks and torture.

From the outset, there was resistance to the idea of the CIE. In 1966 President Castelo Branco rejected the idea of creating an army intelligence service annexed to the minister of army's office, because it would weaken the General Staff's influence. The next year, the new minister of army, General Aurélio de Lyra Tavares, established the CIE over the objections of the chief of staff, General Orlando Geisel. As early as 1968, the CIE was exploding bombs in theaters, wrecking bookstores, and kidnapping people. When the left began terrorist violence in late 1968, the CIE expanded to about 200 officers and became the axis of repression, eliminating all signs of leftist violence in three years.

The SNI, CIE, and other intelligence agencies were the most dubious legacy that the military regime left to the New Republic. The scars of repression and violence, including the mistreatment, torture, and murder of prisoners, will mark the officer corps for years to come. During World War II, Brazilian officers serving in Italy with the FEB (Brazilian Expeditionary Force), the first Latin American military organization in history to participate in combat in Europe, prided themselves on the correct treatment they accorded German prisoners under the Geneva Convention. Their successors, however, were taught that international law did not apply in cases of internal security. Thus, they used massive intimidation, kidnappings, beatings, secret arrests and imprisonments, psychological and physical torture, murder, and secret burial. In the past, rebels or criminals from the margins of society and working-class people could expect brutal treatment from the forces of law and order. The military regime brought that experience to the opposition in the middle and upper classes. The "repressive apparatus," as it was often referred to, cast a shadow of fear and drew an invisible pale through Brazilian society to dissuade the educated classes from crossing it. It also served to dissuade opposition within the military itself.

The creation of the DOI network beginning in 1971 formed a parallel chain of command, one that did not necessarily end with the president of the republic. President Geisel, a retired general, struggled to have his orders fulfilled by the CIE system. Consequently, the CIE sought to undermine his government and to make Minister of Army Sylvio Couto Coelho da Frota the next president. The CIE also waged a pamphlet war against General Golbery do Couto e Silva, chief of Geisel's Civilian Household, who wanted to shut down the CIE.

Data as of April 1997




 



 


About Brazil
Table A. Selected Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Geography
Society
Economy
Transportation and Communications
Government and Politics
National Security

Historical Setting

The Society and Its Environment

The Economy

Government and Politics

National Security

The Military Role in Society and Government

- Military Rebellion and the Revolution of 1930
- From Moderator to Director, 1930-85
- The Internal Security Mission, 1964-85
- Civil-Military Relations, 1985-94
Brazil and International Conflicts, 1917-95
Foreign Military Influence
The Military Role in the Intelligence Services
- The National Intelligence Service, 1964-90
- The Strategic Affairs Secretariat, 1990-94
Defense Industries
Mission of the Armed Forces
- The Military Mission since 1988
- The Military in the Amazon
- The Military Role in Counter-Drug Actions
- Civic Action
Defense Expenditures
Organization of the Armed Forces
- Command and Control
- Brazilian Army
- Brazilian Navy
- Brazilian Air Force
Personnel and Training
- Conscription
- Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia
- Education and Training
- Sociology of the Officer Corps
- Officer Recruitment
- Women in the Armed Forces
Security Forces
- Federal Police
- State Police
Crime and Punishment
- Crime in Brazil
- Penal Code
- Penal Institutions
Toward the Future

Science and Technology

Brazil Travel and Tourism

-
Belo Horizonte
- Fernando de Noronha
- Foz do Iguaçu
- Porto Alegre
- Rio de Janeiro
- Salvador Bahia
- São Paulo

Brazil Information Center

Bahia Resort Hotels
Brazilian Consulate
Brazilian Currency
Capoeira
Carnival of Brazil
Dictionary -Transltation
Flights to Brazil
Information About Brazil
Map of Brazil
Travel to Brazil
Visa to Brazil

Florida Brazil Guide
 


Florida Brazil Guide

Accountant Florida
Airlines
Auto Sales
Beauty Salons
Brazilian Products
Brazilian Stores
Churches
Construction
Dentists Florida
Doctors
Driving Schools Florida
Hotels Florida
Import / Export
Insurance
Jobs
Lawyers Florida
Mechanics
Money Transfers
Moving Company in Florida
Newspapers
Other
Parties / Events
Real Estate Florida
Rental Car Company
Restaurants
Satellite Dishes
Schools Florida
Translation Companies
Travel Agencies
Veterinarians
Workout


Click Here to list your company.

 


Privacy Policy
- Terms of Service - Site Map - Florida Guide

Copyright © 2003 by Florida Brasil.com
All rights reserved