Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Military Intelligence and Security Service
nativename = Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare
nativename_a =
nativename_r =

logo_width = 75 px
logo_caption = The SISMI Coat of Arms

seal_width =
seal_caption =
formed = 24 October 1977
preceding1 = SID
preceding2 =
dissolved =
superseding =
jurisdiction = Government of Italy
headquarters =
employees =
budget =
minister1_name = Ignazio La Russa
minister1_pfo = Minister of Defence
minister2_name =
minister2_pfo =
chief1_name = Admiral Bruno Branciforte
chief1_position = Director
chief2_name =
chief2_position =
parent_agency =
child1_agency =
child2_agency =
website = []
footnotes =

Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare ("Military Intelligence and Security Service") was the military intelligence agency of Italy.

With the reform of the Italian Intelligence Services approved on 1 August 2007, SISMI was replaced by AISE. [Legislative Act n.124 of 08/03/2007, reported on the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic, General Series, n.187 of 08/13/2007. [] .it icon]


Since the end of World War II, Italian intelligence agencies have been reorganized many times (SIM 1900-49, SIFAR 1949-65, SIOS 1949-97, SID 1965-77, SISDE, SISMI, 1977-2007) in an attempt to increase their effectiveness and bring them more fully under civilian control.

The agency was established as part of a broader reform of the Italian intelligence community, which represented the latest in a long string of government attempts to effectively manage Italy's intelligence agencies.

* In 1977, with Legislative Act n.801 of 24 October 1977, this came after a former chief of SID, Vito Miceli, was arrested for "conspiration against the State" (See Golpe Borghese), and the intelligence agencies were reorganized in a democratic attempt. This re-organization mainly consisted of:
** The split of SID, the intelligence agency at that time, into two separate agencies with different roles: SISDE (the domestic one) and SISMI (the military one).
** The creation of CESIS, with a coordination role between the two intelligence agencies and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
** The creation of the Parliamentary Committee, COPACO, to oversee the activities of the two agencies.

* Since 1 August 2007, with Legislative Act n.124 of 08/03/2007, following the reform of the Italian intelligence agencies, SISDE, SISMI and CESIS were replaced respectively by AISI, AISE and DIS [Legislative Act n.124 of 08/03/2007, reported on the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic, General Series, n.187 of 08/13/2007. [] .it icon] , and the COPACO was granted additional oversight and control powers.

The first director of the service was Giuseppe Santovito (1978-1981), succeeded by General Nino Lugaresi was SISMI's director from 1981 to 1984; he testified on Gladio. General Nicolò Pollari was SISMI's second last director; he resigned on November 20, 2006 after being indicted in the "Imam Rapito affair", so Prime Minister Romano Prodi replaced him with Admiral Bruno Branciforte.

Admiral Bruno Branciforte was SISMI's last director, in charge until 3 august 2007.


SISMI was responsible for intelligence and security activities involving the military defence of Italy and for the integrity of the Italian State.

SISMI reported to the Italian Ministry of Defense and operated both inside and outside of Italy's borders. It was feasible that domestic Intelligence and Security, which normally fell under SISDE's jurisdiction (since it reported to the Ministry of the Interior), involved SISMI too, unless the security threat came from organized crime.

Its duties included:
* clearing activities with the Prime Minister;
* nominating the Director of the Service and his assistants under CIIS supervision.

The directors

*General Giuseppe Santovito (First director, 13 January 1978 - August 1981)
*General Nino Lugaresi (August 1981 - 4 May 1984)
*Admiral Fulvio Martini (5 May 1984 - 26 February 1991)
*General Sergio Luccarini (27 February 1991 - 19 August 1991)
*General Luigi Ramponi (19 August 1991 - 9 August 1992)
*General Cesare Pucci (10 August 1992 - 12 July 1994)
*General Sergio Siracusa (12 July 1994 - 3 November 1996)
*Admiral Gianfranco Battelli (4 November 1996 - 30 September 2001)
*General Nicolò Pollari (1 October 2001 - 20 November 2006)
*Admiral Bruno Branciforte (21 November 2006 - 3 August 2007)

Motto and logo

SISMI's motto, as seen on its logo, was " _la. Arcana intellego" (Latin for "Understanding the mysteries"). The verb " _la. intellego", which literally means "I comprehend", was chosen because «it evokes the noble root of intelligence, a discipline aimed at unravelling mysteries and holds in itself a constant tension directed to its final goal: knowledge». [The Italian Intelligence and Security Services Official website - SISMI's Coat of Arms Description [] .en icon]

Its Coat of Arms was granted by a decree of the President of the Republic dated 28 January 2004.

Recent controversies

Nicola Calipari and Giuliana Sgrena

In 2004, Nicola Calipari, a high-ranking SISMI hostage negotiator, was killed at a U.S. Army checkpoint in Baghdad by Mario Lozano, purportedly after a communication breakdown between the Italian intelligence community and the occupying forces.

Yellowcake forgery

In 2005, SISMI was implicated in the Yellowcake forgery scandal. The forged documents purporting to detail an Iraqi purchase of yellowcake uranium from Niger were given to a "cutout" named Rocco Martino by a Colonel in SISMI, Antonio Nucera. [] The head of SISMI, after claiming his agency received the documents from external sources, met with then-Deputy National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, on September 9, 2002.

Reportedly, the Sismi director vouched for the documents' authenticity at the meeting;Fact|date=February 2007 as a result, the White House attempted to insert a reference to uranium from Africa in President Bush's upcoming address to the United Nations, scheduled for September 12, 2002. The CIA removed the reference 24 hours before the address was given. In bypassing the CIA, Pollari ignored the established protocol for contacts between Italian and American intelligence agencies. [] .

President Bush later used the same discredited information when delivering his January, 2003 State of the Union address.

Imam Rapito

In July 2006, the Italian judiciary power issued arrest warrants for several SISMI officials involved in the joint CIA-SISMI operation resulting in the unlawful extraordinary rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, which SISMI Director Pollari had formally denied in testimony before a committee of the national legislature. Among these were:

* former Deputy Director Marco Mancini
* General Gustavo Pignero, agency chief for Northern Italy
* Mancini's aide Giuseppe Ciorra
* Pio Pompa, aide to SISMI Director Nicolò Pollari (he was indicted for "abusive interception" against the vice-president of "La Repubblica", Giuseppe D'Avanzo Paolo Biondani and Guido Olimpio. 11 July 2006 "Corriere della Sera", "Un centro segreto Cia-Sismi" [ available here] it icon ] )
* former Trieste Station Chief Lorenzo Pillinini
* former Padua Station Chief Marco Iodice
* Milan Station Chief Maurizio Regondi

Nicolò Pollari himself would later be indicted on December 5, 2006.

On 16th February, 2007, an Italian judge ordered twenty-six Americans and five Italians (including Pollari) to stand trial over the case on the 8th of June, 2007. []

As part of the judiciary investigation, a SISMI-run black operation targeting center-left politician Romano Prodi and a vast domestic surveillance program was uncovered. Pompa prevailed upon the newspaper "Libero" to print allegations that Prodi, when serving as European Commissioner, had authorized the CIA prison flights via Italy. Targeted in the surveillance program were "La Repubblica" reporters Giuseppe D'Avanzo and Carlo Bonini, who broke the Yellowcake forgery story.

Spying on magistrates

Italian magistrates searching the SISMI's headquarters in August 2007 found documents proving that the intelligence agency had spied over various European magistrates between 2001 and 2006, who it considered carrying a "destabilization" potential. These included the Medel, a European association of magistrates, as well as three French judges, including Anne Crenier, former president of the Syndicat de la magistrature French union, who is married to Italian magistrate Mario Vaudano who works at the OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) [ [ Ecco i dossier del Sismi sui generali "di sinistra"] , "La Repubblica", 6 July 2007 it icon] [ [ Trois juges français espionnés par les services secrets italiens] , "Rue 89", 12 July 2007 fr icon] .


External links

* [ The Italian Intelligence and Security Services Official Website - SISMI] en icon
* [ The Italian Intelligence and Security Services Official Website - Home Page] en icon
* [ The Italian Intelligence and Security Services Official Website - A Brief History] en icon

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