Intelligence agency  

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An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, analysis or exploitation of information and intelligence in support of law enforcement, national security, defence and foreign policy objectives. Means of information gathering are both overt and covert and may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources. The assembly and propagation of this information is known as intelligence analysis or intelligence assessment.

Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.

There is a distinction between "security intelligence" and "foreign intelligence". Security intelligence pertains to domestic threats (e.g. terrorism, espionage). Foreign intelligence involves information collection relating to the political, or economic activities of foreign states.

Some agencies have been involved in assassination, arms trafficking, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.

Fictional spy organizations

During the 1960s trend for action-adventure spy thrillers, it was a common practice for fictional spy organizations or their nemeses to employ names that were contrived acronyms. Sometimes these acronyms' expanded meanings made sense, but most of the time they were words incongruously crammed together for the mere purpose of obtaining a catchy acronym, traditionally a heroic sounding one for the good guys and an appropriately menacing one for the bad guys. This has become one of the most commonly parodied clichés of the spy thriller genre. They were presumably inspired by SMERSH, which appeared in the James Bond stories and sounded fictional, but really was a branch of Soviet intelligence. These acronyms are often spelled with periods/points/stops to make it clear that they stand for longer terms and are not simply the usual English words that they resemble, even though the punctuation would otherwise seem to indicate that the abbreviations should be pronounced as the names of the individual letters.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Intelligence agency" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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