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10 Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies That keep the World’s Biggest Secrets

Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies

The security of a nation is not only determined by its army, but also by its most powerful intelligence agencies. There are agencies that pull out information from the deepest buried secrets, composed of the best spies.  

Globally, a majority of countries have agencies that collect, process, and analyze information. They maintain national security and protect their countries’ interests in all aspects – economic, political, and military. But which countries have the best intelligence agencies in the world?

The following are the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world:  

1. Research and Analysis Wing: Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies 

Headquarters: New Delhi, India 

 Founded: 1968 

RAW’s primary role is to monitor neighboring countries’ movements and activities. In addition, the agency was established after the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and the India-Pakistan war of 1965, which revealed gaps in intelligence gathering by the Intelligence Bureau. Indira Gandhi and her government, therefore, felt that India needed an organization that would alert them in the event of war or terror attacks.  

2. Mossad 

Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel 

Founded: 1949 

Undercover operations undertaken by Mossad have been among the most daring in history. Furthermore, these special operations and foreign intelligence agencies carried out the operation ‘Wrath of God’ to hunt down and kill all the PLO activists responsible for holding and murdering Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1072.


3. Central Intelligence Agency: Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies 

Headquarters: Fairfax, USA 

Founded: 1947 

America’s dominance over the world is partly due to the CIA. Additionally, this agency is crucial to ensuring the United States maintains its position as a superpower, as well as assisting in foreign policy analysis and intelligence. It conducted military operations in Laos and along the Indochina border through a dummy corporation, “Air America,” which operated as a civilian airline.

4. Military Intelligence, Section 6 

Headquarters: London, UK

Founded: 1909 

The MI6 is one of the oldest intelligence agencies and has existed for more than 450 years since Sir Francis Walsingham founded a secret service before becoming Queen Elizabeth I’s secretary of state. MI6, originally founded in 1909 by Commander (later Sir) Mansfield Cumming, is currently a leading agency working to provide intelligence assistance to other organizations, including the CIA.

5. Australian Secret Intelligence Service: Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies 

Headquarters: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Australia’s secret spy agency, ASIS, collects foreign intelligence and undertakes counter-intelligence activities while cooperating with other spy agencies overseas. Even its government was unaware of its existence for more than twenty years. In spite of that, once it came into the limelight, it was investigated thrice by the Royal Commission in 1974, 1983, and 1994 for its operations.

6. Canadian Security Intelligence Service 

Headquarters: Ottawa, Canada  

Founded: 1984 

Canada’s national intelligence agency is also responsible for the country’s national security. In addition to collecting intelligence and running covert operations, CSIS advises government officials about potential security threats. Additionally, the CSIS represents Canada within Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance made up of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

7. Directorate General for External Security: Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies 

Headquarters: France 

Founded: 1982 

In France, the DGES is the external intelligence agency operated by the Ministry of Defense. In addition to its partnership with the DCRI (the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence), the agency has one of the most distinctive logos. DGSE’s logo represents the sovereignty, operational capacity, international operations, and also the efficiency of the agency through its bird of prey logo. In the logo, France is portrayed as a sanctuary while lines represent the networks used by DGES. 

8. The Bundesnachrichtendienst 

Headquarters: Germany

Founded: 1956 

A variety of data is collected and analyzed by the BND. International terrorism, the proliferation of WMDs, and illegal technology transfers, for example. Founded in April 1956, it absorbed the “Gehlen Organization,” a covert intelligence network set up by Major general Reinhard Gehlen after World War II and cooperating with U.S. intelligence agencies.

9. Ministry of State Security: Most Powerful Intelligence Agencies

Headquarters: Beijing, China 

Founded: 1983 

The Ministry of State Security is the security agency of the People’s Republic of China, which aims to maintain the state’s security by countering enemy agents, spies, etc. China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) is run by the Ministry of State Security, and the institute has several scholars who can do research, analysis, and consult with foreign governments.

10. Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation  

Headquarters:  Lubyanka Square, Russia 

Founded: 1995 

The Federal Security Service is the main domestic security agency of the Russian Federation and is responsible for all aspects of state security, counterespionage, as well as fighting organized crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking. As of the end of 2011, the FSB had stopped 94 instances of “terrorism-related crimes”, including eight terror attacks, as well as foiled a planned suicide bombing in Moscow on New Year’s Eve.

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