6 May 2024

Held at the Paris premises of the National School of Magistracy on November 2nd and 3rd, 2023, the seminar of the National Penitentiary Intelligence Service, under the activities of the Intelligence College in Europe, gathered over 150 guests. This included 30 representatives from European penitentiary intelligence services, representatives from all services of the French intelligence community, central offices fighting against organized crime, and the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (PNAT).

The approach to comparing the organizational models of penitentiary intelligence services in Europe led to the organization of the first seminar for European penitentiary intelligence services and was based on a comparative study of these models. The findings were further explored during various presentations, particularly regarding the institutional positioning of penitentiary intelligence services and their methods of information gathering and analysis.

This seminar provided an opportunity to address the current challenges in penitentiary intelligence regarding organization, doctrines, and practices. Six major themes were central to the discussions:

  1. Management of radicalized populations;
  2. The specifics of closed environments for implementing intelligence practices;
  3. Interservice cooperation between open and closed environments;
  4. Interactions between penitentiary intelligence and judicial authorities;
  5. European cooperation;
  6. The contributions of penitentiary intelligence services to understanding contemporary threats.

Exploring other models of penitentiary intelligence organization allowed the French National Penitentiary Intelligence Service (SNRP) to reflect on its own operations and share its expertise with European partners. The SNRP stands out as a unique model in Europe, both for its historical precedence and its resources and objectives. Following a series of events that compromised the security of its facilities in the early 2000s, such as the triple helicopter escape from the central prison of Moulins in July 2000, the mutiny at Clairvaux in February 2003, and the spectacular escape of the prisoner Ferrara after an armed commando attacked the Fresnes prison center in March 2003, the penitentiary administration was compelled to rethink its organization of security and intelligence. However, it was after the wave of attacks in 2015 that the creation of a genuine intelligence service within the Ministry of Justice and the Penitentiary Administration Directorate was initiated in 2017.

This institutional positioning highlights the uniqueness of a hybrid service that belongs both to the intelligence community and the penitentiary administration. The meeting of these two cultures, which mutually enrich each other, allows the SNRP to provide the penitentiary administration with new analytical capabilities regarding security phenomena occurring in detention. In turn, the integration of the SNRP into the intelligence community enhances public intelligence policy with new capabilities for collecting and analyzing national security issues contributed by the penitentiary administration. Thus, the SNRP contributes to the security of penitentiary establishments and, within the intelligence community, to anti-terrorism efforts, combating violent extremism, and policies against organized crime.

Two main models of penitentiary intelligence organization

At the end of the seminar and the study conducted, two institutional models of penitentiary intelligence organization were distinguished:

  1. The vast majority of European services only have penitentiary information collected by their associated penitentiary administration. In these cases, creating an Intelligence Service more so reflects the need for administrations to develop new analytical capabilities for security phenomena occurring in facilities, rather than the development of services with more secretive, even clandestine intelligence capabilities. In these institutional setups, it is the domestic intelligence services that conduct the most intrusive intelligence operations within the facilities;
  • The comparison also highlighted a second model in which penitentiary intelligence services possess all the typical capabilities of an intelligence service: human sources, technical sources, cyber, and partnerships. In this model, exemplified by the French and British cases, penitentiary intelligence contributes equally to the policies carried out by intelligence communities, particularly in terms of counter-terrorism and combating organized crime. In this setup, the penitentiary intelligence service is fully integrated into the national intelligence community. It became evident during the seminar that most services relying primarily on penitentiary information are leaning towards this second model.

Penitentiary intelligence will remain a subject of study and exchange in Europe. An update of the initially shared questionnaire will be sent to members of the Intelligence College in Europe to deepen the understanding of various national experiences. A public strategic analysis note will contribute to academic studies on intelligence and increase the visibility of penitentiary intelligence to a broader audience.


24 April 2024

Last 12/04/2024, the Intelligence College in Europe, together with the Centro Nacional

de Inteligencia (CNI) (Spain), organized a Webinar on the topic “European Union-Latin

America Strategic Relations” at the University of Alcalá, Madrid (Spain).

The moderator of the event was JORGE DE LA CABALLERIA, an experienced official at

the EU Commission, closely linked to the strategic relations with Latin America, in his

capacity as Head of the Latin American Unit of the Directorate-General for International

Partnerships B (DG-INTPA B) of the European Union.

The speakers were:


He has ample experience and prestige in the region and has been Executive Secretary of

the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) until September

2022. He currently works as an academic in Italy and Mexico.


She is Head of the Americas Regional Division in the European External Action Service,

responsible for coordinating relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. Next EU

Ambassador to Chile.


He is Global Head of Economy and Vice President of Grupo Santander. He has extensive

experience in the region.

Professor Francisco Pascual Vives of the University of Alcalá (UAH), director of the

Institute of Latin American Studies, acted as host on behalf of the UAH, Spain.

The European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean represent more than one

third of the members of the United Nations and are a driving force in favour of a strong

rules-based multilateral system.

After eight years without summits, in 2023, the meeting of the Community of Latin

American and Caribbean States (CELAC) with the European Union was held in Brussels.

This meeting concluded with important agreements being reached in all areas,

highlighting the importance of trade cooperation, one of the most widespread networks

in the world, with a total trade in goods and services amounting to €369 billion in 2022.

The EU is the main investor in LATAM, but it is worryingly losing ground to China.

Cooperation in security has also increased in recent years due to the significant rise of

organized crime in Latin American institutions and its connections with transnational

crime networks, and furthermore, because of the deteriorating security situation in

many of the countries of the continent.

Despite the holding of these Summits and the need to simplify international relations

through organizations such as ECLAC, all the speakers agreed on pointing out that

LATAM is not a unit, but a complex and heterogeneous territory where it is essential to

know the idiosyncrasy of each country, since each one has its own problems, and the

formulas that work in one country may not be applicable to another country.

The same applies to the EU's green agenda. These demands cannot be transferred

automatically to Latin America, both due to historical reasons and to the current

economic reality. One cannot extrapolate an idea from one part of the world to another.

There is a great asymmetry, due to the industrialization era in Europe, which gives it a

head start of 200 years.

The structure of LATAM is different from that of Europe. LATAM needs to be part of the

process, not just a recipient of investments. More re-industrialization agreements are


Security plays a fundamental role in the fabric of the EU-LATAM cooperation, and it is

precisely in this area that the European Intelligence and Security Services can play an

important role.

From the point of view of investments, LATAM stands out for its potential in the areas

of food, energy and good level of training of its human resources. Rising demography

rates are considered a plus for investments (800 million people in 2050). The main

weaknesses are: Social inequality, poor infrastructures, the need for increased foreign

investment and greater involvement of institutions. It is always advisable to work with

a local partner in the project you want to start and choose the country very carefully,

since not all bear the same qualities.

China's influence in the region was also discussed, based mainly on its investment

potential and the ease with which China quickly provides for, and covers, the existing

needs. In this sense, it is considered important to be able to make LATAM see that the

cheapest option is not always the best one, without asking them to give up China. Thus,

the Global Gateway initiative could become an alternative to the Silk Road and offer

something different from what the Asian country offers: Sustainability and employment.


24 April 2024

Do you want to know the work of an intelligence officer on strategic issues?

In this case, please watch this interview of the Intelligence and Security Senior Adviser of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), Gerhard Conrad. Former BND Officer and High Level Hostage´s Negotiator in the Middle East. He led the UE Intelligence Centre (UE INTCEN) from 2016 to 2020, before retiring and moving towards various advising and teaching positions. He is currently Visiting Professor in the Kings College of London. He has also written an interesting book in German: “Keine lizenz zum töten” (No licence to kill), at the Econ Publish House in 2022.


8 April 2024

Le 2 avril 2024, le directeur du renseignement national suédois, Dag Hartelius, a fait une présentation à l'IFRI, dans le cadre du cycle européen du renseignement soutenu par le Collège du Renseignement en Europe (ICE). Le thème de la conférence était « Menaces hybrides – tâches et défis pour la communauté du renseignement ».

L'Ambassadeur Dag Hartelius, venu à Paris le 5 mars 2019 pour le lancement de l´ICE, était heureux de revenir à Paris, pour son cinquième anniversaire, et de participer à ce cycle IFRI/ICE. Il était le quatrième participant à ce cycle de sensibilisation après les hauts représentants du renseignement de France, d'Italie et d'Espagne.

Face à un nouveau type de menace, la menace hybride, la communauté internationale doit réagir avec de nouveaux outils qui, nécessairement, ne peuvent pas être uniquement militaires, mais devront combiner d’autres variables.

Ce n’est pas que les menaces hybrides ou les éléments de menace hybride n’existaient pas auparavant, pensez à certaines campagnes de désinformation pendant la guerre froide, mais c’était différent à la fois en termes de portée et de mode. La révolution de l’information et la surabondance d’informations ont ouvert de nombreuses possibilités en termes d’attaques asymétriques et opportunistes contre nos sociétés démocratiques.

Déjà au sein de l’UE et de l’OTAN, de nouvelles stratégies et de nouveaux outils, tels que les Centres d’excellence de Riga (sur la désinformation), de Tallinn (sur la cybersécurité) et d’Helsinki (sur les menaces hybrides), ont été développés. Mais face à des attaques aussi vastes, opportunistes et asymétriques, nous avons besoin d’un nouvel état d’esprit avec une approche « de l’ensemble du gouvernement ».

Plus précisément, en ce qui concerne le Renseignement, l’évolution a été double :

- Les services de l'Etat n'ont plus le monopole de l'information fiable et exploitable. D'autres sources d'informations (que ce soit dans OSINT ou dans IMINT) sont tout aussi valables, complémentaires et nécessaires pour comprendre la situation actuelle des menaces. Il faut donc compter sur des sources multiples qui ne doivent pas nécessairement provenir du renseignement en tant que tel.

- Nous avons vu, pendant la guerre d'Ukraine, l'utilisation répétitive du renseignement à des fins STRATCOM. À cet égard, le renseignement devient un nouvel outil.

Nous sommes aujourd’hui dans un écosystème global qui nécessite une vision transversale, horizontale et holistique, capable d’apporter des réponses différentes aux différentes menaces. L’invasion russe de l’Ukraine a montré qu’il reste encore un long chemin à parcourir pour mieux se préparer à anticiper les menaces futures.


8 April 2024

On 2nd April 2024, the Director of National Intelligence of Sweden, Dag Hartelius, gave a presentation in the IFRI, as part of the European Intelligence cycle supported by the Intelligence College in Europe. The topic of the conference was “Hybrid Threats –Tasks and Challenges for the Intelligence Community”.

Ambassador Dag Hartelius, who came to Paris on the 5th March 2019 for the launch of the Intelligence College in Europe, was happy to come back to Paris, for its fifth anniversary, and to participate to this IFRI / ICE cycle. He was the fourth participant of this outreach cycle after Intelligence High representatives from France, Italy and Spain.

Faced with a new type of threat, the hybrid threat, the international community has to respond with new tools that, necessarily, cannot be only military, but will have to combine other variables.

It is not that hybrid threats or elements of hybrid threat did not exist before, think about some Disinformation campaigns during the Cold War, but it was different both in terms of scope and modus. The information revolution and the information overload have given plenty of possibilities in terms of asymmetric and opportunistic attacks against our democratic societies.

Already in EU and NATO, some new strategies and some new tools, such as the Centres of excellence of Riga (on Disinformation), of Tallinn (on Cyber) and of Helsinki (on Hybrid threats), have been developed. But, faced with such wide, opportunistic and asymmetric attacks, we need a new mind set with an “all-the-government” approach.

More specifically, with regard to Intelligence, the evolution has been twofold:

  • State services have no more the monopoly of reliable and actionable information. Other sources of information (be it in OSINT or in IMINT) are equally valid, complementary and necessary to understand the current threat situation. We must therefore count on multiple sources that do not necessarily have to come from Intelligence as such.
  • We have seen, during the Ukrainian war, the repetitive use of intelligence for STRATCOM purpose. Intelligence, in this regard, is becoming a new tool.

Today we are in a comprehensive ecosystem that requires a cross-cutting, horizontal and holistic vision capable of providing different responses to different threats. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that there is a long way to go in being better prepared to anticipate future threats.


29 March 2024

From March 21st  to 22nd, the 5th Law & Intelligence Services Symposium has taken place in Berlin, organized jointly by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of the Interior with the focus, this year, “Intelligence services and armed conflicts”.

Superbly organized, this Symposium brought together academic specialists in Law and researchers in Intelligence Studies with members of the association of former executives of the German services (for more details, see, current leaders of the main services, Members of the Parliament (also  members of the control commissions), senior executives from the Ministry of Defense, the Interior and the National Coordination and some specialized journalists. It made it possible to address various subjects linked to conflict law and to develop in detail the issues linked to hybrid threats.

Before the closing speech by the National Intelligence Coordinator, an important discussion was held in the active presence, inter alia, of the President of the BND, the President of the G10 Parliamentary Control Commission, the President of BaMAD, the Vice-President of the BFV (1). In fact placed under the long shadow of the war in Ukraine and the famous declaration of February 27, 2024 made by Chancellor Scholz on the strategic shift (“Der 24.Februar 2022 markiert eine Zeitenwende in der Geschichte unseres Kontinents.”), this symposium made it possible to discuss how this shift impacted or should impact the German Services community.

The Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe, which works closely with Germany, one of its founding members and one of its most permanent supporters, was present there.

(1) – Respectively Civil and Military Foreign Intelligence Service, Military Protection and Counter-Espionage Service and (Federal) Internal Security Service.


26 March 2024

Allemagne / CRE - 5 ème Symposium Droit et Services de Renseignement

Du 21 au 22 mars, s’est tenu à Berlin le 5ème Symposium Droit & Services de renseignement, organisé conjointement par la Chancellerie fédérale et par le ministère fédéral de l’Intérieur avec comme focus pour cette année « Services de renseignement et conflits armés ».

Superbement organisé, ce Symposium regroupait universitaires spécialistes du Droit et chercheurs en Intelligence Studies avec des membres de l’association des anciens cadres des services allemands (pour plus de détail, cf. ), des dirigeants actuels des principaux services, de députés membres des commissions de contrôle, des cadres dirigeants du ministère de la Défense, de l’Intérieur et de la Coordination nationale et quelques journalistes spécialisés.

Il a permis d’aborder divers sujets liés au droit des conflits et de développer en détail les problématiques liées aux menaces hybrides. Avant le discours de clôture par la Coordinatrice nationale du Renseignement, s’est tenue une importante discussion en présence, notamment, du Président du BND, du Président de la Commission de contrôle parlementaire G10, de la Présidente du BaMAD, de la vice-Présidente du BFV (1).

De fait placé sous l’ombre portée de la guerre en Ukraine et de la fameuse déclaration du 27 février 2024 faite par le Chancelier Scholz sur la bascule stratégique (« Der 24.Februar 2022 markiert eine Zeitenwende in der Geschichte unseres Kontinents. »), ce symposium a permis d’évoquer en quoi cette bascule impactait ou devait impacter la communauté des Services allemands.

Le Secrétariat Permanent du Collège du Renseignement en Europe, qui œuvre de manière étroite avec l’Allemagne, un de ses membres fondateurs et un de ses soutiens les plus permanents, y était présent.  

(1)    – Respectivement Service du renseignement extérieur civil et militaire, Service de Protection et de contre-espionnage militaire et Service de sécurité intérieur (fédéral).


22 March 2024

Le 7 février 2024, le secrétaire général du Centre national de renseignement (CNI) d'Espagne, le sous-secrétaire Arturo Relanzón, a donné une conférence à l'IFRI, dans le cadre du cycle européen de renseignement soutenu par le Collège européen du renseignement, présidé par L’Espagne en 2024. Le thème de la conférence était « Instabilité au Sahel, impact sur la sécurité de l’Europe ».

 Le directeur de l'IFRI, Thomas Gomart, a accueilli et présidé l'événement et le directeur adjoint de l'IFRI, Marc Hecker, ainsi que la directrice internationale de l'Agence française de presse (AFP), Daphné Benoit, y ont participé.

L'instabilité au Sahel est déterminée par les conditions politiques, sociales et économiques de la région. Dans certains cas, ces conditions peuvent constituer un terrain fertile pour la radicalisation (avec pour conséquence un impact sur la menace terroriste) et pour une migration clandestine massive. L’Europe devrait améliorer son travail et sa collaboration dans la région, en approfondissant la connaissance mutuelle.

Les menaces venant du Sahel vers l’Europe ne sont pas indépendantes et les combattre individuellement n’est peut-être pas la meilleure option. L’Europe devrait adopter une approche globale pour faire face à « tout, partout, d’un seul coup ». De la même manière, l'action des pays doit s'inscrire dans le cadre de l'action européenne commune.

M. Arturo Relanzón était le troisième participant à ce cycle de l'IFRI après les coordonnateurs du renseignement français et italien.


22 March 2024

On 7 February 2024, the Secretary General of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) of Spain, Undersecretary Mr Arturo Relanzón, gave a conference in the IFRI, as part of the European Intelligence cycle supported by the Intelligence College in Europe, which is chaired by Spain in 2024. The topic of the conference was “Instability in the Sahel, impact on the Security of Europe”.

The Director of the IFRI, Thomas Gomart, hosted and chaired the event and the Deputy Director of the IFRI, Marc Hecker, and the Head of International of the French Press Agency (AFP), Daphné Benoit participated in it.

The instability in the Sahel is determined by the political, social and economic conditions in the region. In some cases, those conditions may be fertile ground for radicalisation (with the consequent impact on the terrorist threat) and for massive illegal migration. Europe should improve its work and collaboration in the region, deepening on mutual knowledge.

The threats coming from the Sahel to Europe are not independent and tackling them individually may not be the best option. Europe should take a holistic approach to face “everything, everywhere, all at once”. In the same way, the action of countries should be framed in the context of the joint European action.

Mr. Arturo Relanzón was the third participant of this IFRI cycle after the French and the Italian Intelligence Coordinators.


22 March 2024

ICE and the Paris Defence and Strategy Forum

On the 13th-14th of March 2024, The Paris Defence and Strategy Forum (PDSF) was held in Ecole Militaire de Paris. This Forum, organised by the French Defence University (ACADEM), is the first event of significant scope in France focused on defence and security, with a strong European focus. It brings together French and international civilian and military subject matter experts in different formats. On the fifth anniversary of ICE, it was the occasion to publicize the new achievements of the Intelligence College in Europe, as done in the past during the “La Fabrique Defense” event.

ICE presence and actions

The Intelligence College in Europe (ICE) has participated in the event, in three main ways:

  • During the whole two days, thanks to a dedicated stand within the central agora. Well placed, it has been visited by a multitude of participants, among them, many experts and researchers, high-ranking military personnel from various parts of the world, including the Austrian Director of the EU Military Committee (EUMC), members of defence-related think tanks, security directors of public and private companies in the field of defence and security. Likewise, various French official cadres related to the issue of security were present, the most prominent being the French Minister of Defence himself.
  • On the 13 een of March, the Romanian Deputy Director of Intelligence, Mr Bizadea, has delivered, just after the former French minister in charge of the French Public Service (Mrs de Montchalin) one of the two keynote speeches kicking of the first roundtables on Human Resources entitled “War on talents”,
  • On the 14 een of March, the Director of PS.ICE has delivered the last keynote speech of the Forum on “European Intelligence & Security, Challenges and opportunities”, describing first the specific EU set-up and, then digging in on the various challenges and opportunities to be tackled in the next future. This keynote speech, followed by a Q&A phase, has allowed to detail the need of a common intel-based strategic culture and the ICE role.

The forum was an excellent outreach opportunity for ICE as the College is reaching maturity, extending its impact in the Academic domain and in Brussels, while intensifying its Public relations actions.