Brazil Strategic Affairs Secretariat, 1990-94
de Mello became president in 1990, he replaced the military-dominated
SNI with the civilian-led SAE. One of his first acts as president
was to dismiss 144 officers from the SNI. Under the Collor presidency,
the SAE emerged as the most important actor in formulating Brazil's
security policies. In part, its influence was derived from its direct
access to the president. The SAE's oversight responsibilities included
Brazil's nuclear, space, missile, armaments, and intelligence programs.
In an example of role expansion, however, the SAE drafted the 1992
Multiyear Plan, a document formulated previously by the Ministry
of the Economy's National Planning Secretariat, and continued to
have a strong military presence. Such broad activities led some
to refer to the SAE as a "super ministry." In addition
to the SAE, there are service intelligence agencies.
Despite attempts to make the SAE more open, there was virtually
no congressional oversight of SAE activities. On September 26, 1991,
President Collor submitted a bill for congressional supervision
of the SAE's intelligence-gathering activities. According to the
bill, the secretary of the SAE would be required to submit a confidential
report to Congress every six months. Congress criticized several
provisions, including the exemption from congressional oversight
of intelligence activities of the armed forces and Federal Police;
a penalty of imprisonment for three to ten years for breaches of
confidentiality by Congress; and the formation of a joint congressional
committee to monitor the SAE, thereby bypassing the committees that
already existed within the Chamber of Deputies (such as the Committee
on National Defense) and the Senate.
By mid-1992 it was clear that the SAE had not been "demilitarized,"
as suggested by Collor. Reserve and active-duty military officers
continued to head most of the departments and coordinating sections.
Nor did the SAE effectively oversee Brazil's intelligence apparatus.
There was evidence that the intelligence branches of each service
did not report to the SAE. In October 1992, President
Itamar Franco appointed Admiral Mário César Flores
to head the SAE. Some considered this military appointment a setback
for the "demilitarization" of the SAE because Flores was
Collor's minister of navy and was considered a leading proponent
of Brazil's nuclear-powered submarine program.
In 1995 President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who assumed the presidency on January
1, nominated Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg to head the
SAE. A seasoned diplomat, Sardenberg was a former ambassador to
Moscow and the United Nations, and was widely published on issues
relating to Brazil's foreign and security policies. President Cardoso
also announced the creation of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency
(Agência Brasileira de Inteligência Nacional--ABIN).
Data as of April 1997