Intelligence Oversight and Effectiveness in New Democracies
The Case of Brazil
Scholarship on the inherent tension between intelligence and democracy has paid limited attention to new democracies, especially those transitioning from military regimes. There, it is more challenging to bring intelligence services under democratic control without sacrificing their efficiency in exchange for oversight. This research note analyses these challenges in the Brazilian case, contributing to the scholarship on intelligence in Latin America. The case study demonstrates that the restructuring of intelligence in Brazil resulted in a spread-out intelligence system with many agencies, aimed at avoiding monopolisation and politicisation with formal oversight mechanisms put in place. Nonetheless, Brazilian society and politicians still do not trust intelligence, and lack a clear understanding of its functions for a democratic state. While intelligence reform in Brazil still has a long way to go regarding intelligence effectiveness and efficiency, it indicates how intelligence reform is a central part of a successful democratic transition.
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