10 Best Intelligence Agencies in the World 2020

10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies Around The World

What is the Role of Intelligence

The intelligence agency essentially acts as a nervous system in any national defense setup, responsible for providing vital information to law enforcement agencies and the armed forces about threats to national security. They collect, analyze and exploit confidential information that is not available to the general public for their own purposes.

These agencies collect information through a variety of means, including cryptography, signal collection or interception, cryptography analysis, and many other methods. For those unfamiliar, almost every country has more than one operational secret service or spy agency, but most likely one of the rest stands.

so what makes one intelligence agency better than another? Is it due to a huge budget or relentless and rigorous training or is it due to the technology they use? Well, in fact it is a mixture of all these things. However, here are we will discuss 10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020 or 10 best spy agencies in the world.

10- Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) – Canada

10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020
Logo Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) – Canada
  • CSIS Headquarters: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Founded:1984
  • CSIS Employees: 2449 (est)
  • Website: CSIS

Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s leading intelligence agency, is credited with keeping the country safe.

CSIS is Canada’s intelligence agency that oversees the country’s national security. The functions of the CSIS include gathering intelligence, conducting covert operations, and advising the government on security threats. CSIS Canada Representative in the Eyes of the Intelligence Alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Located in Ottawa, Ontario, CSIS collects information worldwide and connects anything that poses a threat to Canada and its citizens. However, the agency has a reputation for being very aggressive when it runs its operations in the name of national security.

9- Ministry of State Security (MSS) – China

 Ministry of State Security (MSS) – China
Logo Ministry of State Security (MSS) – China
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China
  • Founded: 1983
  • Website: None

Formed in 1983, the Ministry of State Security is China’s security agency and intelligence agency. It is headquartered in Beijing and has 17 known bureaus or divisions, including the Counter Intelligence Division and the Social Research Division.


MSS plays a major role in censoring the Internet in China, reducing the population from the outside world, and allowing the government to control what affects the Chinese people. The agency is responsible for managing internal disagreements and anything that causes citizens to revolt against the ruling Communist Party.


The MSS is heavily involved in financial govt action, with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei being the main culprit in helping the agency gather intelligence around the world. With 100,000 intelligence personnel inside and outside China, the MSS has been able to play its role effectively, especially with regard to national security.

8- Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) – Australia

Logo Australian Secret Intelligence Service ASIS
Logo Australian Secret Intelligence Service ASIS
  • Headquarters: Canberra, Australia
  • Founded:1952
  • Employees: Not available
  • Website: ASIS

Headquartered in Canberra, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service is similar to the Central Intelligence Agency. It deals primarily with international or foreign intelligence and generally coordinates with other similar agencies around the world.

ASIS was formed in 1952, although it was not until 1972 that the Australian tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph Agency was exposed to the public. Because you always trust tabloids to remove the dust of anything that is remotely controversial in the country.

Like many other intelligence agencies, ASIS has been involved in a number of incidents in the past. Recognized in Papua New Guinea almost three decades ago. ASIS has been accused of trying to suppress independence movements in the country. The agency was also involved in the September 1973 uprising in Chile, despite being ordered to withdraw months earlier.

7- Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) – France

Directorate-General for External Security DGSE logo
Logo Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE)

Directorate-General for External Security, operating under the French Ministry of Defense, is the French equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency. It deals primarily with foreign intelligence and issues, the Directorate-General for Internal Security to handle domestic affairs.

The DGSE maintains all the etiquette of activities and activities related to national security, which refers to human intelligence operations and intelligence operations. However, almost all agency activities are out of the public eye. Little is known about the past and ongoing activities of the agency.

The DGSE played an important role in the Rwandan civil war in the 1990s. The agency had the job of spreading false information, which laid the foundation for the increased French involvement in the final stages of the war. The DGSE also played a role in the Kosovo war between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Liberation Army. so DGSE in top 7 out of 10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020

6- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – India

Research and Analysis Wing RAW logo
Logo Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
  • Headquarters:  New Delhi, India
  • Founded: 1968
  • Website: Not available

The Indian Foreign Intelligence Agency has the lowest reputation among all the intelligence agencies in the world. Outsiders may also think that it is just a non-governmental organization. But don’t be fooled by the agency name – the Research and Analysis Wing is the most effective in the world.

Founded in 1968 to deal exclusively with foreign intelligence, RAW plays a key role in protecting India from terrorist attacks and monitoring developments in other countries that directly affect India. However, Raw is very secretive. Not much known about its activities and past activities, which a good thing.

RAW regularly coordinates with other intelligence agencies and possibly includes intelligence officers around the world. In particular, the agency regularly communicates with the Central Intelligence Agency and other well-known agencies such as the Mossad regarding the monitoring of Pakistan’s nuclear program. So Raw number 6 out of 10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020.

5- Mossad – Israel

Logo Mossad
Logo Mossad
  • Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Founded: 1949
  • Employees: 7000 (est)
  • Website: mossad.gov.il

Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence agency, one of the top 10 countries in the world with the most powerful nuclear weapons. It is one of three branches of the Israeli intelligence community – the other two, Shin Bet and Aman, which maintain internal security and military intelligence, respectively.

Mossad deals primarily with foreign intelligence, gathering information on Israeli interests and foreign developments that pose a security threat. The agency runs covert operations and has its own counter-terrorism unit, Kidan. Little known about any other unit except that of the Elite Assassins.

Like other foreign intelligence agencies, Mossad collaborates with other similar agencies from other countries. Mossad is reported to be cooperating with Middle Eastern countries, with Iran’s nuclear program being a common theme. Mossad has previously collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Research and Analysis Wing.

4- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – US

Central Intelligence Agency CIA Logo
Logo Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Headquarters: Langley, Virginia, U.S.
  • Founded: 1947
  • Employees: 21500 (est)
  • Website: cia.gov

The Central Intelligence Agency is the US foreign intelligence agency. It collects information from abroad with minimal data collection in the country. It is the most popular and easily recognizable intelligence agency in the world, mainly because of its appearance in Hollywood movies.

The CIA was formed in 1947 and is one of the oldest intelligence agencies on the list. The agency has a responsibility to monitor foreign developments that threaten America, especially those related to terrorism and nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The agency also manages counter-intelligence and cyber warfare.

In addition to gathering information, the CIA also conducts covert paramilitary operations. The CIA’s track record is a mixed bag, however, based on publicly known past operations. The agency has been the subject of numerous scandals and controversies over the years, leading it to rank fourth on the list of the world’s top 10 best intelligence agencies.

3- Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) – Russian Federation

Foreign Intelligence Service SVR Logo
Foreign Intelligence Service SVR Logo

Foreign Intelligence Service is a civilian foreign intelligence agency of the Russian Federation. It is the successor to the KGB’s first chief directorate and works with the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia’s military foreign intelligence agency.

Unlike Russia’s primary security agency, the Federal Security Service, which deals primarily with internal affairs, the SVR is responsible for gathering intelligence outside the country. The SVR is responsible for enforcing a variety of intelligence, including military and economic surveillance, and conducting electronic surveillance abroad.

Headquartered in the Yasenevo district of Moscow, SVR also has information on murders and internet misinformation abroad. Since Russia has an alliance with China, it can be assumed that the SVR regularly cooperates with Chinese intelligence agencies.

2- Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) UK

 Secret Intelligence Service SIS Logo
Logo Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 1909
  • Employees: 3594 (est)
  • Website: sis.gov.uk/

The Secret Intelligence Service is the UK’s foreign intelligence agency. Commonly known as MI6, it the second most popular agency on this list, a specialty to be given to James Bond films. Like almost all other agencies on this list, MI6 deals primarily with external affairs, leaving internal affairs to MI5.

MI6 collects and analyzes information from abroad. It focuses on information on terrorism, nuclear weapons, drug trafficking, organized crime and other activities that pose a threat to UK interests and national security. It also coordinates with other foreign intelligence agencies, such as the CIA.

MI6 has formed over 100 years ago, making it one of the oldest intelligence agencies in the world. However, its track record is not pure. In recent years, it has been embroiled in controversy over how it conducts its operations. There have been reports that the agency uses a very infamous, violent and unusual composition.

1- Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – Pakistan

Inter-Services Intelligence ISI Logo
Logo Inter-Services Intelligence ISI
  • Headquarters: Aabpara, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Founded:1948
  • Employees: 10000 (est)
  • Website: ispr.gov.pk

ISI was formed in 1948 and is a Pakistani intelligence agency serving in the Armed Forces. The main objective of the ISI is to investigate and analyze data on security issues for the Government of Pakistan.

Speaking of Afghan-Soviet Union relations, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency played a major role in the late 70s and early 80s. The ISI took the side of Afghan fighters fighting against the Soviets and worked with the CIA to train and fund them.

Headquartered in Shahra-e-Soharwardi, Islamabad, the Pakistan agency has been accused of promoting terrorism by supporting terrorist and smuggling groups, especially because of India.

It is believed to have the highest number of agents worldwide, almost 10,000. Most importantly, it one of the least funded intelligence agencies in the top 10. But the number 1 out of 10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020.

Conclusion

Creating the top spot for intelligence agencies is very difficult because the successes of these agencies are so secretive and have not been classified or discovered by some ordinary people 50 years later.

We therefore closely examine the security and well-being of nations and the intelligence-gathering activities of goo intelligence from public sources such as digital newspapers and books.

It’s your turn now: Who is the best intelligence agency in the world? Share your views in comment section.

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10 best intelligence agencies in the world 2020