Number 1


Location: United States
Founded in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has three stated functions: 1) Obtaining and analyzing information about foreigners; 2) Propaganda and public relations; and, 3) Covert operations at the direction of the president. The CIA was given enormous leeway to operate during the Cold War, as the American government felt that such free reign was necessary to successfully combat the USSR's agency, the KGB. As a result, the CIA was engaged in many coups and assassination attempts overseas, both successful (Chile, Congo) and unsuccessful (Cuba).

Claim to fame: The Bay of Pigs invasion may be more notorious, but Project BLUEBIRD is more shocking. From 1951 to 1953, the CIA conducted mind-control experiments in order to explore the creation of new identities, multiple personalities and false memories. The research entailed placing brain electrodes in people and controlling their behavior with remote transmitters, administering daily dosages of LSD-25 to children for extended periods of time, and using electroconvulsive therapy to erase memories.

Number 2


Location: United Kingdom
MI6 or, as it is known formally, the Secret Intelligence Service, was created just prior to World War I primarily to keep a close eye on the activities of the Imperial German government. Since then, MI6 has been heavily engaged during the major conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Even before the 9/11 attacks, MI6 actively collaborated with their American counterparts in order to share intelligence and carry out particularly dicey covert ops. The MI6, in conjunction with the CIA, effected the toppling of several regimes, most notoriously in the Congo in 1961 and Iran in 1953.

Claim to fame: Aside from the time Bond bedded Pussy Galore, MI6's most successful solo mission in recent years was the quelling the hostage-taking of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Specifically, MI6 agents triggered an internal conflict between Lebanese paramilitary groups, effectively distracting them from further hostage-taking.

Number 3


Location: Russia
When one thinks of Russian intelligence, they usually think of the KGB. But the KGB was disbanded by Boris Yeltsin in 1995, while the even older Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije (GRU) -- which means "Main Intelligence Directorate" -- has continued on, unaffected by the fall of the USSR. The GRU was created in 1918 by Vladimir Lenin, and given the task of handling all military intelligence. Since then, the GRU has taken part in significant anti-nationalist activities in Eastern Europe and according to a former agent, has infiltrated the U.S. to the extent that secret-arms caches are available for use in America by Russian agents, if necessary.

Claim to fame: The GRU doesn't cop too much, but they were purported to be behind the assassination of former Chechen President Zelimkhan Abdumuslimovich Yandarbiyev, who was living in Qatar in 2004 and was accused of having links to Al-Qaeda by Russia and the United Nations. The former president was assassinated when a bomb ripped through his SUV in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Number 4


Location: France
The Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) was formed only recently, replacing the older Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE) in 1982, and was quickly made responsible for gathering intelligence, as well as preventative work detecting and finding external espionage activities directed against French interests. The agency has generally kept a low profile, but that was not the case with 1985's Greenpeace protests against French nuclear testing, which involved the bombing of the Greenpeace fleet. New Zealand law enforcements uncovered the plot and arrested two DGSE agents who plead guilty to manslaughter in the death of a journalist who drowned in the incident.

Claim to fame: The DGSE quickly proved its worth in the early 1980s, when they revealed a Soviet spy network that allowed the USSR to gather info about important Western technical advances without the knowledge of Western intelligence agencies. It's still the most extensive technological spy network ever uncovered in Europe and the United States.

Number 5


Location: Pakistan
The weak performance in the sharing of intelligence between the army, navy and air force during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 led to the creation of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by the Pakistani government in 1948. Since then, the agency's influence has waxed and waned according to the whims/powers of Pakistani leaders. Since 9/11, ISI has actively worked with the CIA in engaging in counter-terrorism against both Al-Qaeda, Taliban militants and tribal/sectarian terrorists in Pakistan (though they have been somewhat stifled by domestic factors). The ISI is a deceptively active and powerful agency and is known for operating in an "invisible" fashion.

Claim to fame: In 1980, the ISI intercepted a plot to assassinate the President of Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, during a national parade. The plotters, which included high-ranking military officials, planned to launch a bloody coup to depose the government and install an extreme Islamic government in its place. The ISI arrested the would-be assassins and their backers prior to the date of the planned assassination.

Number 6


Location: Germany
The Bundesnachrichtendienst's (BND) predecessor agency was created prior to World War II in order to spy on the Soviet Union. Today, it allegedly acts as an early warning system to alert the German government of threats to its interests from overseas, depending very heavily on wiretapping and electronic surveillance of international communications. The annual budget of the BND is very big, exceeding 430,000,000 Euros. The BND has been embroiled in several recent domestic scandals relating to the alleged wiretapping and surveillance of journalists, and the use of reporters as spies against other journalists.

Claim to fame: In the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, the German government resisted President Bush's efforts to get Germany to provide troops to the coalition. But the BND scored for the U.S. when two German agents in Baghdad managed to obtain a copy of Saddam Hussein's plan to defend the Iraqi capital. A German official passed the information on to American commanders one month before the invasion.

Number 7


Location: Israel
Israel's extremely active intelligence agency, Mossad, is responsible for intelligence collection, counter-terrorism and various covert operations. Its director reports directly to the head of state, the Prime Minister. Mossad is a civilian service, and does not use military ranks, although most of its staff have served in the Israeli defense forces as part of the country's compulsory draft system. Mossad's most notorious wing is the "Special Operations Division" or "Metsada," as it's also known. The Metsada has been involved in several assassinations, paramilitary operations, sabotage, and psychological warfare.

Claim to fame: In 1960, the Mossad discovered that Adolf Eichmann, a notorious Nazi war criminal, was living in Argentina under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was captured by a team of Mossad agents and smuggled in to Israel where he was tried and executed.

Number 8


Location: India
India's external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was created in 1968 as a response to the country's poor intelligence performance in recent wars against Pakistan and China. Unlike most Western agencies, the R&AW is installed as a wing of the federal cabinet and is not answerable to the Indian Parliament in any way. Much of the R&AW's recent energies have been focused on its neighbor, Pakistan. During the Kargil War in Kashmir in 1999, the R&AW was able to unearth links between Pakistani intelligence and terrorist groups, and to infiltrate militant groups in the Kashmir valley. Claim to fame: The R&AW had a big hand in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. The agency helped sow discord among the disgruntled populace of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan), which led to the creation of a guerrilla Bangladeshi army. Under its cover, R&AW operatives infiltrated into East Pakistan for covert operations, helping defeat the Pakistani army.

Number 9


Location: Australia
Created in 1952, the Australian Secret Intelligent Service (ASIS) agency is responsible for collecting intelligence, undertaking counter-intelligence activities and, especially, coordinating with other agencies overseas. The Australian government recently passed a controversial bill which allowed ASIS to work with other organizations like the CIA in paramilitary operations, provided ASIS agents were not personally involved in carrying them out. ASIS has been the subject of some sensational exposes over the years, including one in 1994 which claimed that the agency was secretly holding thousands of secret files on ordinary Australian citizens.

Claim to fame: In 1983, the normally low-profile agency garnered some unwanted attention during a training operation held at the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. What was intended as a mock surveillance and hostage rescue of foreign intelligence officers turned into an overzealous free-for-all, as trainees used considerable force, distressed hotel staff and guests, and physically assaulted the hotel manager while carrying out their "mission.

Number 10


Location: Canada
The Canadian Security Intelligent Service (CSIS) was created in 1984, previous to which Canadian intelligence was handled through the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). CSIS is patterned after the CIA and MI6, in that it is a civilian agency which is unconnected to the military or police. Canadian intelligence agents work both domestically and internationally in an effort to monitor and counter threats to Canadian security. CSIS came under enormous criticism from the Canadian public for their investigation of the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, a tragedy that claimed the lives of 280 Canadians. CSIS officials reportedly erased key wiretaps and made several strategic investigatory errors. To this date, no one has been held responsible for the bombing.

Claim to fame: From 1988 to 1994, CSIS agent Grant Bristow infiltrated the Canadian white-supremacist movement, becoming security chief of the Heritage Front, the most prominent white-supremacist organization in Canada. Bristow's activities led to several arrests and prevented certain incidents of planned violence. His cover was blown by a Toronto journalist in 1994.


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