Centro Nacional de Inteligencia

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National Intelligence Center
Centro Nacional de Inteligencia
Agency overview
Formed May 6, 2002
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction Government of Spain
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Employees +/- 1500
Annual budget 255 million €
Ministers responsible
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Agency executives
  • F%C3%A9lix Sanz Roldán, Director
  • Elena Sánchez Blanco, Secretary General
Parent agency Ministry for the Presidency
Child agencies
  • Nacional Office for Security
  • National Cryptographic Center
  • Nacional Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
Website www.cni.es

The National Intelligence Center (Spanish: Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, CNI) is the Spanish official intelligence agency. Its headquarters are located in the A-6 motorway near Madrid. The CNI is the successor of the Centro Superior de Información de la Defensa, Higher Centre for Defense Intelligence. Its main target areas are North Africa and South America and it operates in more than 80 countries. CNI's official budget for 2010 (the CNI can get further resources from the reserve funds) is approximately 255 million euros.

The Secretary of State—Director of the CNI is currently General Félix Sanz Roldán.

Goals and operation

The Center's essential goal is to give the Spanish Government all the necessary information to prevent, and given the case, to avoid any risk or menace that affects the independence or integrity of Spain, its national interests, as well as the rule of law and its institutions. In the same way, the law states that the specific goals of the CNI will be determined and approved yearly by the Council of Ministers. These goals will be included in a secret document, the Intelligence Guidelines.

Besides this organic control of the Center by the Ministers Council, there is also a judiciary control, given the fact certain activities require such intervention. This control is carried out by a judge of the Spanish Supreme Court, chosen by a qualified majority. In this sense, those actions requiring previous authorization by the court are those regarding communications interdiction, entry and registration at home or enterprise addresses, or any other would-be violations of the fundamental rights granted by the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

Precedents and history

The first Spanish intelligence service was created in 1935, in a short-lived experience with an almost null activity, due to the Spanish Civil War paralyzing its development. Student revolts by the end of the 1960s motivated the creation of a National Countersubversive Organization, which was the seed for the Servicio Central de Documentación (SECED), founded in 1972. The Centro Superior de Información de la Defensa (CESID) was formed between 1976 and 1977, from the fusion of the SECED and the High Staff of the Army Information Service (Spanish: Servicio de Información del Alto Estado Mayor (SIAEM))

Directors of the CESID / CNI


  • Antonio M. Diaz Fernandez (2006) Los servicios de inteligencia españoles. Desde la guerra civil hasta el 11-M. Historia de una transición, Alianza Editorial.
  • Carlos Ruiz Miguel (2002) Servicios de Inteligencia y Seguridad del Estado Constitucional, Editorial Tecnos.
  • Fernando J. Muniesa y Diego Camacho (2005) La España Otorgada. Servicios de Inteligencia y Estado de Derecho, Editorial Anroart.
  • Joaquín Bardavio, Pilar Cernuda y Fernando Jauregui (2000) Servicios Secretos, Editorial Plaza & Janés.

External links