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Q22.

Are senior positions within the intelligence services filled on the basis of objective selection criteria, and are appointees subject to investigation of their suitability and prior conduct?

22a. Objective selection criteria

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SCORE: 0/100

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22b. Selection bias

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SCORE: 0/100

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22c. Vetting process

Score

SCORE: 50/100

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The Law on the State Intelligence Service (SHISH) doesn’t specify any criteria for the appointment of the agency’s Director [1]. The law on the Defence Intelligence and Security Agency (DISA) also did not include any criteria until 2012 [2].
Some general criteria for the appointment of the DISA Director were included in the amendment made to the existing law that included: being an Albanian citizen, have the highest level of qualification on intelligence and defence, have the degree or level of education for the respective workplace, to have been criminally prosecuted, etc [3]. The amended DISA law in 2014 also modified the criteria for the appointment of the Director-General.
Currently, the criteria for the DISA Director are: to have served for no less than 15 years in military intelligence structures or in institutions of a similar nature, of which no less than ten years in managerial positions; to have completed the first cycle of higher education or the second cycle of higher education in the field of intelligence or security; to be qualified the field of intelligence or security [4].

There is not a competitive process for the appointment of the intelligence directors in Albania. When legislation was adopted in 1992 to place intelligence on a legal basis, the SHISH directors have been appointed through party and personal loyalty grounds; therefore after any political changes, their replacement has been also one of the immediate objectives of incoming governments [1, 2, 3].
Although to a certain extent the appointment of DISA director has been less politicised, as directors were picked from within the ranks of the military, practically since 2005 DISA directors have been changed after a new political party has come to power. For instance, given that the DISA law specified criteria on the appointment of the director, the amendment of the law on DISA in 2014 was criticised by the opposition as being initiated by the government with the sole purpose to remove the DISA Director and quit the CNS meeting held to discuss the law [4].
According to the Law on the SHISH the director is nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the president [5]. After the resignation of the SHISH director in October 2017, the prime minister nominated a successor and proposed him to the president for appointment [5]. However, the president has refused to decree the appointment of the proposed candidate so for nearly a year SHISH is being managed by an acting director. The nomination of the new acting director has been accompanied by a reshuffling of the top officials in the agency [6].

As a rule, all personnel having access to classified information have to undergo security vetting under the law on classified information [1]. The vetting process is conducted by the Classified Information Security Directorate (DSIK), which is an agency outside the intelligence services [2]. However there are no third party panels involved in the process, and given that DSIK is administratively subordinated to the prime minister, it has often been criticized as biased by political motivations in the procedures for issuing the security clearances [3, 4].

Because the Direction of Security Services (DSS) was established by an unpublished presidential decree in 2016 (1), it is not possible to know whether there are any formal selection criteria for senior positions. Furthermore, no further information in this regard on its predecessor, the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), could be found, including selection criteria for senior ranks (2), see the country’s last assessment (3).

From what is known about the intelligence services, senior positions seem to be chosen based on political loyalty. The patronage method of the Algerian political system highly suggests that there is a selection bias (1). Constitutionally, the President of the Republic is in charge of nominating officers of the security organs (Art. 92, 2).

Information on the heads of the DRS/DSS or any lower-ranking members is very scarce. The last example illustrating the clientelistic structure of the system that has become publicly known is the dismissal of the former head of the DRS General Mohamed Lamine Mediène called “Toufik”. He had run the service for over 25 years and was replaced by Athmane Tartag in 2015. Tartag had reportedly allied himself with President Bouteflika when he worked for him as a presidential advisor (3). It was also reported that Tartag is a protégé of the president’s brother (4).

Given the secrecy of the intelligence services in Algeria (1), there is no information available of whether there is an internal vetting process. According to Hachemaoui, the secret police has controlled the recruitment process of key positions in the military and civilian state organs (2).

According to Art. 122 of the 2010 Constitution, the president, as the commander-in-chief, has the power to appoint and dismiss senior officials of the intelligence services, upon consulting the National Security Council (1). There is no evidence of the existence of objective selection criteria or its application.

Given the broad constitutional powers of the president to appoint and dismiss senior officials of the intelligence services and the absence of a formal vetting process or any checks by the parliament. Additionally, because of the dominance of the ruling party in all state institutions, loyalty to the President of the Republic and the ruling party appear to be the main selection criteria (1).

A Freedom House report states, “Executive powers are broad and varied. Under dos Santos, legislation was frequently passed through a presidential decree. Before leaving office, President dos Santos signed several decrees ensuring the continuation of key officials in the economy and military sectors” (1).

The appointment and dismissal of members of state intelligence and security bodies are made in consultation with the National Security Council, but there is no formal or informal vetting process on its part (Art. 122 and 136 of the 2010 Constitution) (1). There is no specific evidence of a vetting process in the intelligence services.

There are objective selection criteria in the current regulations of the intelligence area. However, it is not possible to show whether the top positions are submitted to them, especially taking into account the particular reserved characteristic of the subject. The highest authorities of the AFI (governing body of the National Intelligence System) are the Director General and the Assistant Director General, who are appointed by the President of the Nation and ratified by the Senate. In this regard, criticism from the press and CSOs has been evidenced by the profile of the headlines chosen by the EP, before their approval by the Senate and subsequently, without any results. [1] Regarding the remaining personnel, they must be Argentine and of legal age, who due to their conduct and public life must provide adequate guarantees of respect for the National Constitution and the norms. Those unable to be intelligence personnel are those who have records of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or for violation of human rights, and who are included in the disqualifications of the respective intelligence agencies. In 2016, a new Statute for AFI Personnel was promulgated. The highest positions (category D) must in turn possess a university degree or be retired military personnel with officer status, or senior personnel of the security and police forces retired under the fourth hierarchy. In turn, the change of position corresponds to the decision of the Director General. The personnel of these positions can also access the managerial positions by a well-founded decision of the Director. [2]

It is possible that selection processes, still normatively open and transparent, offer biases in the selection of the top positions in intelligence services, where the holder responds directly to the President of the Nation. However, no evidence of undue influence has been found. The recruitment process is carried out through a search for potential candidates in public and private universities, within the framework of the Intelligence Agents Training Program, which began in 2016 to train applicants. [1] Although they are not the top positions, this indicates that the selection may be targeted and is not really via the agency’s website, where it invites everyone (in accordance with the described criteria) to apply. In addition, it is worth mentioning that, from Decree 656/2016, the reservation was established for information on the use of funds managed by the AFI, which also established that all AFI personnel are considered intelligence personnel [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This makes it more difficult to find evidence on the recruitment of staff.

There is Not Enough Information to score this indicator. In relation to a full investigation regarding the suitability of the candidates to fill vacancies in higher positions of the intelligence services, a specific mechanism does not follow from the current regulations. Article 23 of Law 25.520 states that persons who register records for war crimes, crimes against humanity, or for violations of human rights may not serve as officials or members of any intelligence agency, in the archives of the Undersecretariat of Human Rights under the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, or any other agency or agency that may replace them in the future. [1] In turn, in reference to the headquarters of the intelligence service, as is the case of the Federal Intelligence Agency, appointment of personnel occurs directly by the President of the Nation. Notwithstanding that a background analysis can be carried out at the Executive Branch level, there is no evidence of a pre-established background investigation mechanism. But according to current regulations, in the case of the Director General and the Deputy Director of that Agency, their appointments require the agreement of the National Senate. That is, there is a legislative review of these positions. [2] [3] The highest authorities of the Director General and the Assistant Director General of the AFI are appointed by the President of the Nation and ratified by the Senate, and it is not clear what steps the Senate and President take in terms of vetting and investigating the candidates. [4]

The selection of the senior position of the intelligence service is regulated with a range of laws that outline the profile of an individual filling in the position. High positions are appointed by the prime minister through the approval of the president. Traditionally, individuals with extensive experience in the intelligence service are appointed to a senior position. The Law on National Security Bodies [1], the Law on Military Service and the Status of a Military Servant [2], the Law on Defence [3] regulate the appointment of senior officials within intelligence service. There are some provisions on appointing senior positions in the Law on Public Service [4]. However, we do not know what principles they are following, we are not aware of the practical, personal, moral qualities which a person should have to get involved in this kind of service and we cannot comment on the objectivity of appointments because the process is not transparent.

There is not enough information to score this indicator. Due to the classified nature of the intelligence services, it is difficult to confirm or deny selection bias [1, 2].

There is not enough information to score this indicator. It is worth noring that no vetting process by an external body is anticipated by the law regulating the appointment of senior positions within the intelligence services [1].

Senior positions in Defence are subject to clear and objective selection criteria, which flow from a requirement in relevant legislation to hire based on merit and guidelines which bring this legislation to policy. The intelligence agencies which fall under the Department of Defence – the Australian Signals Directorate, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, and the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation [1] – as well as the Office of National Intelligence [2], are subject to recruitment rules set by the Public Service Act 1999 [3] and guidelines issues by the Australian Public Service Commission. The Public Service Act requires that employment decisions be based on merit [3, s. 10A(1)(c), 10A(2)], and that the Australian Public Service Commissioner “strengthen the professionalism of the APS and facilitate continuous improvement in workforce management in the APS,” [3, s. 41(1)(1)] including through the issuance of guidelines and Directions. Recruitment-relevant guidelines [4] and the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016 [5] require that selection criteria are readily available, applied fairly, appropriately documented, and based on merit. The other agencies that make up the Australian intelligence services, namely the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [6] and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service [7], both are required by their constituent legislation to generally follow the Public Service Act, including on recruitment matters. The Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate [7, s. 27B], the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [6, s. 7], and Australian Secret Intelligence Service [7, s. 17], are all appointed by the Prime Minister through the Governor-General in mandatory consultation with the leader of the Opposition.

The Australian Public Service Act 1999 [1] and Australian Public Service Commission rules [2] and guidelines [3], which recruitment in the intelligence services is generally based on (see Q22A), make clear that public service recruitment must be based on merit. As an additional safeguard, selection panels for senior intelligence service recruitment at the executive level or higher must include a representative of the independent Public Service Commission [3]. The Director-Generals of the intelligence agencies that have such a position are nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the leader of the Opposition (see Q22A), preventing partisan figures or political favouritism from influencing these highest-level appointments.

Australian government recruitment is done through a selection panel process, which for senior positions is required to include a representative of the independent Public Service Commission [1]. All intelligence service positions require some level of security clearance [2, 3, 4], which can involve negative or positive vetting. During this process, the security clearance officers have the ability to collect information and contact witnesses [5].

According to the Law on Civil Service, a civil servant is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan who swears that he will be loyal to the Republic of Azerbaijan (Article 14.1). A civil servant holding an administrative position and having authority is considered a public official. Admission to the civil service is carried out on a competitive basis. The process consists of a test and an interview (1).
Official criteria for selection of senior positions in intelligence agencies is not clear to the public. According to an expert, loyalty to the government plays a key role (2). There is no publicly known, objective selection criteria, and no open recruitment process. For example, the State Security Service (SSS) has an Academy, for which the selection of students takes place via a central test system; the SSS later recruits the graduates. There is not a central test system for recruiting intelligence workers (3).

Intelligence services are considered to be the “right hand” of the ruling power in Azerbaijan, and the control over the situation in the country is under the authority of this organization (1). According to an expert, for this reason, the ruling family focuses on several issues when selecting leaders of intelligence services (2):

The first is the devotion to the ruling power (family). The leader of the intelligence service must prove that he will be loyal to the current ruling family during his activities. At the same time, the views and approaches of the future leader of the intelligence service in maintaining stability in the country play a key role. Meanwhile, the attitude towards the political opponents of the government and the opposition, civil society play a key role. Candidate’s views on the future of the country, in terms of changes, are also important for the ruling family. The candidate’s relations with foreign countries are being investigated.

Due to this process, the government benefits from the inquiry and investigation of dozens of people. A person who passes all the investigations is ultimately assigned to the post of chief of intelligence.
One example is the latest appointment on June 20, 2019, through the order of the head of state, Ali Nagiyev was appointed head of the State Security Service (3). Before this, Nagiyev was the head of the Anti-Corruption Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office. He is very loyal to the ruling family (2). Ali Nagiyev was dismissed from that security job in 2011, reportedly after conflicts with then-Minister Eldar Mahmudov (4).
According to experts, this type of selection applies to all ministers in the country. It does not seem possible to carry out serious reforms with the selected team (2).

There is no official explanation. Observations show that no official investigations into candidates are held. There is no government agency to oversee the process. The latest appointment, Ali Nagiyev as chief of State Security Service was not explained (1). The press accuses him and his family of corruption (2). Intelligence agencies’ opinions are taken into consideration when the authorities appoint senior officials to other ministries. However, these procedures are not applied for new candidates to the intelligence agencies (3).
According to some experts, Russia plays a role in the policy of the government on intelligence services in Azerbaijan. According to Mark Galeotti, Azerbaijan once cooperated with the Russians quite significantly, but the partition in 2015 of the Ministry of National Security into the State Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service has been both the cause and symptom of increasing scepticism about Moscow’s motives, “[t]he head of the former was a career police officer, while Baku’s new spymaster, 38-year-old Orkhan Sultanov, has a western education and postdates the old KGB connections” (3).

The only significant criteria for senior staff appointments at the intelligence service is loyalty and being close to the King of Bahrain. There is no formal and legal framework for the practices of appointing senior positions [1, 2, 3].

Senior intelligence staff are mostly awarded for loyalty to the king and Khalifa’s family. Meritocracy is not the primary factor in the appointments [1, 2, 3]. Adel Alfadel is a loyalist [4] and he was accused of human rights violations. In 2017, three Bahraini Human Rights Organizations condemned the intelligence services in Bahrain for gross violations of Human Rights, shedding the lights on its role, personnel, and recruitment. The report then disappeared, but news about its content still online [5].

Appointments at the intelligence services are ambiguous and not disclosed to the public; even the parliament does not have that information. There is no vetting process or vetting committee that recruit or propose promotions. In most cases, promotions occur by decree. As many of the staff are not Bahraini, there is no questioning the appointments of personnel [1, 2, 3]. Adel Alfadel is a loyalist, and he was accused of human rights violations. He is a close loyalist to the king [4]. In 2017, three Bahraini Human Rights Organizations condemned the intelligence services in Bahrain for its gross violations of human rights, shedding light on its role, personnel and recruitment. The report then disappeared, but news about its content still online [5].

The actual official criteria are not publicly available. However, professional skills, unwavering faith in Liberation War spirit, leadership, discipline, honesty and national-level contributions [1] are among the general standards for promoting senior military officials [2]. However, it is not clear whether these standards are strictly applied.

Impartiality may be an issue, for example, because of blessings from the Prime Minister or affiliation with the ruling party. The incumbent DGFI Chief [1] hails from the same district as the Prime Minister.

There are no external parties involved in the vetting process [1]. Candidates’ profiles are verified through an internal system and information about the internal vetting process is unclear.

The Chief of Defence nominates a candidate for the Chief of the Intelligence Serice and his Vice-Chief. These nominations are then approved or declined by the Minister of Defence. Committee I (Comité I, the Belgian Standing Intelligence Agencies Review Committee) is then informed of this decision [1]. While there are checks and balances to the appointment of senior positions within the intelligence services, there is no objective list of criteria [2].

There is no opportunity for severe intervention by third parties as Committee I oversees irregularities within the intelligence services [1]. Yet, as the Minister of Defence approves or declines the nominee proposed by the Chief of Defence, her/his political background may influence this decision.

There is no external party investigation into the suitability of candidates. The transparancy of the intelligence services is low, primarily due to security reasons [1]. Secondly, organisational issues such as the structural lack of funding and high turnover of personnel impact the time and resources that could be spent on implementing an external evaluation process [2].

According to the Law on Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the positions within the agency with clear seniority are the director-general, the deputy director, the general inspector and the directors of organisational units. Article 25 prescribes that the appointment of the director-general and the deputy director-general should be based on their proven professionals and experience in law enforcement. The required experience cannot be solely acquired in the positions exclusively related to the political nominations. Following Article 32, paragraph 1, the inspector general shall be appointed by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the proposal submitted by the director-general and the deputy director-general. Article 32 paragraph 2 envisages that the proposal for appointment of Inspector General shall be determined by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on consultations with hisher deputies, members of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Joint Committee for Supervision of the Work of the Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Additionally, the chairperson of the Council of Ministers is responsible to secure the vetting procedure for the director-general, the deputy director-general and inspector general is conducted before their appointment. There are no other procedures prescribed by the law that would additionally regulate the criteria for selection for senior positions [1].

As it is prescribed by Article 25 of the Law on Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the appointment of the director-general, the deputy director and the general inspector primarily falls within the field of exclusive competence of the executive state body-Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, before it decides on the appointment of the director-general and the deputy director, shall consult the president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Executive Intelligence Committee and the Joint Committee on for Supervision of the Work of the Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the general inspector’s case, Article 32 of the law prescribes that the proposal for appointment shall be determined by the chairperson of the Council of Ministers based on consultation with hisher deputies, members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Joint Committee for Supervision of the Work of the Intelligence-Security Agency [1].

There is a Rulebook on the Way of Conducting the Security Check and the Source of Data in the Security Check Process of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina which in its Article 4 states that competent official persons have the mandate to check the data from security questionnaires in the following ways:
1) Requesting data from the competent state bodies that keep the official records;
2) Immediate access to records of competent state bodies and other legal entities;
3) Conversation with verified faces;
4) A face-to-face interview proposed by the verified person;
5) By interviewing other persons who may provide the necessary information for the purpose of determining the facts to be verified;
6) Immediate observation of an authorized officer.
The Rulebook does not prescribe an obligation of forming a hiring panel that will be equipped with vetting competences [1].
There is evidence of existing shortcomings regarding the checking of competences of candidates for the position of director of Intelligence-security service, as evidenced through the competent government bodies deciding to annul the graduating diploma of the current director of the intelligence service [2].

Senior positions within the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) are the prerogative of the President. The objectivity of the process remains unknown and there is no evidence of objective selection criteria [1,2].

Although there is some evidence that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) is composed of former police, military and intelligence officers [1], there is no publicly available information to confirm this or the selection criteria for these positions. There have been reports that senior positions in intelligence are at the whims of the ruling party and in particular the President, depending on the nature of the position to be filled [2]. For example, the former head of DISS and the current head of the DISS have been said to be appointed under controversial circumstances, in particular the influence of the Executive [3].

For the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) there is little to no evidence of an external vetting process on promotion or even appointment [1]. For example, the appointment of Peter Magosi to head the DISS was said to be controversial. This is despite Mr Magosi having joined the army at the age of 22 and progressed through the ranks to become a brigadier [2]. At one point, he was a member of Special Forces, an elite unit within the military, and later headed Military Intelligence. During his time, President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has promoted Major General Placid Segokgo to the rank of Lieutenant General and Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) effective September 2, 2016. Major General Gotsileene Morake is appointed to the position of deputy commander, effective September 2, taking over from Segokgo. A press release from Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, states that Segokgo has been the deputy commander since 2012. He first joined the BDF, in 1983, and rose through the ranks to his current rank and position, during his 33 years of hard work and dedicated service to the BDF. These appointments were not exposed to any external vetting processes [2].

In Brazil, there is the Brazilian Agency of Intelligence (ABIN), it is under the command of the Gabinete de Segurança Institucional da Presidência da República (GSI – Office of Institutional Security). The staff of ABIN used to have a lot of military or ex-military personal [2], but this is not the case anymore. Most of the staff is selected through a public tender, and the majority are from a civilian background. After the selection, they all need to take a course at the Escola de Inteligência (ESINT – School of Intelligence). They train as agents or experts (cyber, forensics, etc). The director is appointed by the president and in this case, there is a bias issue, as mentioned in 22B. The Army, Navy and Air Force have their own intelligence section, with a different task than the ABIN. They are utilized more for internal intelligence issues and have a military operations structure. Their personal need also to take courses in their respective forces and there is no bias in the selection or appointments. Each branch has a general officer as the head of the intelligence section. However, it is not clear in the regulations available if there are specific criteria to occupy these positions [3]. There is also a Section of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence, which also has military intelligence capabilities. Finally, there is an intelligence section within the Federal Police (the director of the Federal Police, appointed by the president, selects and appoints the head of the intelligence section at the police level [1].

Considering the selection process for the ABIN, since its chief is chosen by the president [1], the veto power from the Senate might suffer due to the influence of party negotiation and alliances. However, indications do not seem inconsistent – the current director was originally with the Federal Police and has experience in intelligence operations at major events, such as the Brazilian Olympics and World Cup [2].

There are norms for vetting any military personnel from working in the intelligence system. The functions of these vetting mechanisms are similar in every single force. In the Army, there is a classified norm that establishes these criteria the Norms for the Selection of the Army’s Intelligence System Personnel (Normas para Seleção de Pessoal do Sistema de Inteligência do Exército – NSPSIEx). Officials are evaluated by their superiors every six months and receive grades (1 to 5 points) regarding their behaviour and productivity. For most intelligence positions, officials who receive four points are forbidden from participating in some courses and integrating into the intelligence system. There is no external vetting. In the case of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the single force ‘in charge’ of the main positions within the MoD appoints an official who was approved by its own intelligence system, with no external party evaluation [1]. In the Case of the ABIN, the agency conducts an extensive investigation prior to the public admission of the official, according to Article 14 of Law 11.776/2008 [2]. In both cases there are no external vetting processes, the agencies themselves establish vetting criteria and processes.

The criteria for the selection of senior positions is unclear; there are no legal guidelines. It is
possible that the appointment of the current Head of the ANR Colonel François Ouedraogo was made based on his relationships with the President, as his former support staff at the National Assembly/ Parliament (1). Nevertheless, Colonel Ouedraogo has the experience required for the job, as he was the former Director of the Security and Computer Services National Agency (ANSSI). According to the Constitution, the president appoints the prime minister, as well as the heads of institutions (2). The president can select or appoint anyone it wants in these kinds of positions without any objection from the Parliament or the judiciary branch (3).

Senior positions in the ANR are more likely to be a reward or gift for satisfactory results in previous positions or political affiliation than an achievement of merit. Since its creation, there has not been a call for applications to fill a position within the ANR, and there is no evidence that this will change soon. The appointment of the current head of the agency was not made before a call for applications. He got appointed for his past professional relations with the president, while still leading the National Assembly (1). The system in place, organized by the Constitution of 1991, provides the president with strong powers and privileges (2). Although under the former Prime Minister Tertius Zongo, a committee was set up within the Prime Ministers Office to promote management based on results it has been criticized for being biased (3), (4).

As part of the hiring process, a little investigation is performed (sometimes not at all) on selected candidates, to fulfil the standard procedure, immediately preceding the time when the individual gets their new position (1). Often, the period between the appointment of office and the day the appointee takes office, is very short, meaning that not much vetting work has been done. Regardless, the vetting process is seen as a formality, as the appointee is often a former colleague or political partner (2). No evidence of vetting process being applied was found in cases of promotion.

Generally, recruitment into the military, police and gendamerie is characterised by some level of nepotism. In the same manner, though appointments and promotions to senior positions are required to be based on competitive examinations that qualifies one to be in a certain position within the system before promotion, such appointments are often marred by despotism, ethnic considerations and position buying. Appointments to some key positions are left at the discretion of the Head of State and are believed to be influenced by ethnic ties [1].

“Ngo’o served in the Cameroonian government as Defence Minister from 2009-2015, making him one of the longest-serving defence ministers in the country. He was sacked from the government in 2017 after serving as Minister of Transport from 2015-2017. According to sources at Cameroon’s presidency, he was a “confidant” and “an important security adviser” to President Paul Biya during his stay in government” [1].

However, there is also the belief that some members of the military and police including the intelligence services are appointed based on their qualifications [2] [3] [4].

According to Jeune Afrique (20 March, 2018), “Admittedly, the civilian, police and military staff of the DGRE continue to file cases against opponents of the regime of Paul Biya. But their priority today is to lead the war against terrorism, support the fight against organised crime, ensure the protection of the country’s economic and industrial heritage, and fight against corruption. They are now applying themselves to make DGRE a unit of geostrategic intelligence and reflection at the service of the State… The structure still has a bad reputation, but the 2010 appointment of Leopold Maxime Eko Eko to the position of General Manager was rather well received. This divisional commissioner, economically literate, a fervent Christian who knows the system perfectly for having spent nearly thirty years working in it, is known for having negotiated the release of the nine sailors of Bourbon Sagitta, kidnapped off Cameroon in November 2008” [2].

As a result of the patron-client relationship that often exists between the President of the Republic, who is also Chief of the Armed Forces, and his political appointees, it is a fact that appointments are made based on ethnic affiliations. Those in higher positions often appoint others from their ethnic groups to key strategic roles [1].

Appointments to some key positions are at the discretion of the Head of State and are believed to be influenced by ethnic ties [2].

“Ngo’o served in the Cameroonian government as Defence Minister from 2009-2015, making him one of the longest-serving defence ministers in the country. He was sacked from the government in 2017 after serving as Minister of Transport from 2015-2017. According to sources at Cameroon’s presidency, he was a “confidant” and “an important security adviser” to President Paul Biya during his stay in government” [2].

This is done at the discretion of the Head of State and there are no mechanisms in place to determine the credibility of the process [1] [2].

There are no statutory or published criteria for the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). [1] Bill C-59 specifies the establishment of a Chief of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the Intelligence Commissioner, the former of which has no published criteria, the latter of which must be a retired judge. [2]

While there are no laws specifying neutrality or objectivity, in practice appointments have not been based on overtly partisan affiliations. The first head of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) was a member of the NDP, appointed by a Liberal Prime Minister. [1] The current chief of the CSE is a career public servant, and the current director of the CSIS, while having worked in a partisan appointment briefly, was previously a career civil servant. [2] [3]

Leaders of intelligence community agencies are appointed by an order in council (OIC), [1] a process that is intended to vet qualifications and suitability, conflicts of interest, and overall fitness of the proposed appointee. However, there is no information specific to either the process involved with intelligence agencies or any particular IC appointee, only information that applies to order in council appointments in general. While a number of reforms were being considered in the run-up to the 2019 election, transparency around leadership of intelligence agencies were not addressed. [2] [3] While The Privy Council Office has a process to select and recommend candidates for senior government officials, reforms that bring greater transparency of the vetting process would increase public understanding of the selection criteria. Additionally, as members of the National Security and Intelligernce Review Agency (NSIRA) are appointed by an order in council, evidence of an external hiring panel tasked to vet a candidate’s suitability is unclear.

The system of state intelligence is formed by the National Agency of Intelligence (ANI), the Directorate of Defence Intelligence of the El Estado Mayor Conjunto (EMCO), the Directorates of Intelligence of the Armed Forces, and the Directorates of Intelligence of the Police Forces [1]. The director of the ANI is appointed by the president (Ley Num. 19.974, Art.9). For the ANI, the legal prescriptions of the System of Public Senior Management (SADP) do not apply. The analyst requested information through Transparency Law to the ANI concerning selection criteria for the director of the ANI as well as other senior positions. The director of the agency replied that, besides the criteria established in the law (19.974), there were “practices of scrutiny and control, of secret character, with the purpose of establishing the appropriateness of designated senior directors” [2]. Considering this, neither the criteria nor their application can be assessed.

There is a great deal of opacity surrounding the selection and appointment of candidates. Scholars have observed poor articulation of the intelligence system in general and the military intelligence in particular, as well as the poor parliamentary control over the system [1]. As it was stated above, information requested regardless of the existence of norms of practices for the scrutiny of candidates and their selection was denied because of their “secret” character. Because candidates are not selected through the SADP, there is no information regardless of the process of selection of possible biases. Suggestive evidence points to the political nature of appointees. For instance, in July 2018, a controversy emerged due to conflicts within the ANI between the newly appointed director and the ongoing sub-director. The origin of the dispute was related to the use of political rather than technical criteria for the appointment [2]. The use of politically adept appointees is feasible due to the “reserved” process of appointment. Recently, this issue has raised the attention of commentators and members of Congress, who have called for the reformation of the system to improve its effectiveness and professionalization [3, 4, 5].

There is no evidence of investigation of individuals’ suitability for the directive body. If it exists, information about it is considered secret and denied to the analyst. For the employees of the ANI, individuals cannot belong to political parties or participate in activities that are partisan [1].

As with all senior political positions in China, the selection criteria are unclear. Studies on personnel management in the Chinese Communist Party note that objective criteria based on performance and an official’s track record exist and are important in promotions [4] but subjective and informal factors (political loyalties, factional affiliation, nepotism, favouritism etc) are also important, especially in senior appointments. [1,2] There is an extensive practice of selling posts and buying promotions in the the Chinese Armed Forces. [3] This problem persists despite reforms in the military, partly due to the weak performance assessment system. [3] Although there is no available information regarding objective criteria and vetting in senior appointments in intelligence services, there have been high-level cases of corruption that give strong indications that similar informal practices are present. [5]

All senior political appointments including those in the Chinese intelligence apparatus are managed by the nomenklatura system of tthe Chinese Communist Party. Party membership and a long proven record of experience in various government and party posts is essential for all senior promotions. The CCP evaluates its senior cadres through the Central Organisation Department but final decisions on appointments take place after extensive consultation, negotiation and bargaining among powerful figures and groupings within the Party, [1] while nepotism and favouritism are rampant. [2] As such, partiality and selection bias due to connections with powerful Party leaders are an indespensable element of the selection process.

There is no available information regarding vetting processes in China’s intelligence services and, therefore, this indicator is scored ‘Not Enough Information’.

On the National Directorate of Intelligence (DNI) website, it states that all positions of the entity are of free appointment and removal. According to Law 909 of 2004, [1] positions of free appointment and removal have the following criteria: (a) positions of management, conduct, and institutional guidance, the exercise of which involves the adoption of policies and guidelines; (b) jobs involving special trust, which have the assigned functions of institutional, assistance, or supportive advice; (c) jobs that involve the administration and direct management of state goods, money, and/or securities; (d) jobs that do not fall under State security agencies, whose functions, such as security escorts, consist of the personal protection and security of public servants. In addition to these selection criteria, Decree 4882 of 2011 [2] establishes the functions and general requirements for the different public jobs of the DNI, with five hierarchical levels: managerial, advisory, management, technical, and operational. It is evident from the information obtained on the website that the profile of the Director General of the DNI is described in a general way, so that they can be modified to fit the Director of this entity if their experience lies in security and defense issues. The curriculum vitae of the Director is not published, nor is there sufficient information to identify a merit selection process for Senior-level positions. [3] According to Interviewee 6, [4] corruption allegations are widespread in the appointments of management positions within the Military Forces and Police. The judicial investigations of the Colonels and Generals do not preclude them from being delegated to positions of national importance, so in this sense the applicability of the objectives of standardised selection is not clear.

There is no available evidence to conclude that there are objective and accessible criteria for access to Senior defense positions. Selection is questionable, since it may be based on the closeness or affinity of that person to the governing party or to the President, regardless of the type of entity and the role it may have. The requested documentation did not corroborate the experience of the curriculum vitae of the Director, since it is not published on the website, but the Director’s closeness and affinity with the government is evident. [1,2, 3]

Given the evidence found, it is not possible to determine that there is a comprehensive background investigation process on the suitability of the individual who would hold the position of Director of the DNI by a third party. [1] On the contrary, selection is questionable, since it is based on the closeness or affinity of that person to the governing party or to the President, regardless of the type of entity and the role it may have. The requested documentation did not corroborate the experience of the curriculum vitae of the Director, since it is not published on the website, but the Director’s closeness and affinity with the government is evident. [2, 3, 4]

Given the centralization of the Coordination Nationale du Renseignement (CNR) within the executive since 2014, it is not possible to discern whether the intelligence services are subject to objective selection criteria.

On the official website of President Outtara, the CNR appears under the subheading “Les Affaires Présidentielles”, and is accountable to the Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Directeur de Cabinet (Chief of Staff), a powerful position in the government hierarchy (1).

Given the centralization of the CNR within the executive, the president himself, the minister of presidential affairs or the chief of staff most likely appoint candidates to senior positions in the intelligence services.

Given the extreme centralization of the CNR within the executive, the vetting process of individual candidates is restricted to a small circle of people with no external parties involved. The president, the minister of presidential affairs and the chief of staff appear to be the only officials involved in the selection process.

On the official website of President Ouattara, the CNR appears under the subheading “Les Affaires Présidentielles,” and is accountable to the minister of presidential affairs and the Directeur de Cabinet, a powerful position in the government hierarchy (1).

Given the extreme centralization of the CNR within the Executive, the vetting process of individual candidates is restricted to a small circle of people with no external parties involved. The President, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Chief of Staff appear to be the only officials involved in the selection process.

On the official website of President Ouattara, the CNR appears under the subheading “Les Affaires Présidentielles,” and is accountable to the Minister of Presidential Affairs and to the Directeur de Cabinet (Chief of Staff), a powerful position in the government hierarchy. (1)

According to law, all positions in the public sector have to be publicly advertised [1, 2]. Some exceptions are written into law, but there are no exceptions made specifically for the intelligence services and/or considerations of “national security”. This fact should provide for an objective selection process. Research shows no indications that DDIS should operate from a different mandate [3]. All prospective employees must be eligible for security clearance [4].

According to the DDIS information page on the selection of candidates, all applications are subject to a number of practical, theoretical and psychological tests to determine the candidate’s suitabiliy for the job [1]. Applicants for a leadership position are subject to a leadership aptitude test and applicants who are invited to proceed from the second job interview will also be subject to a security interview (“sikkerhedssamtale”) [2]. The selected applicant will finally be invited to negotiate terms of pay and employment [3] and research indicates that union representatives are included here [4, 5]. All this indicates that the undue influence of a third party is highly unlikely.

Since all employees in the DDIS are required to pass and maintain a security clearance, the hiring panel must possess one themselves [1]. Spouses/live-in partners of the applicant are required to sign a form of consent in relation to the DDIS security clearance investigation [2]. All applications are subject to a number of practical, theoretical and psychological tests to determine the candidate’s suitabiliy for the job [1]. All prospective employees must be eligible for security clearance and must maintain the security clearance throughout their employment [1]. It is the Military Security Service (Den militære sikkerhedstjeneste) within DDIS who carry out the security clearance process with the possible assistance of the National Police Intelligence Service (Politiets Efterretningstjeneste) [5] according to the the provisions written into law [4].

According to our sources, the selection procedures and criteria of senior intelligence officers are not only unclear, but it is also known to be nepotistic, rewarding loyalty to the president. Although some laws specify the criteria, they are ignored by the president when it comes to appointments (1), (2), (3). Articles 13 to 15 of the General Intelligence Law no. 100 (1971) specify a list of objective criteria for selecting members of the GI (4), but due to the secretive nature of its operations and the heavy punishment for spreading any information about the GI, it is difficult to know if these criteria are implemented (Articles 48 and 80 of the GI Law).

According to our sources, senior positions of the intelligence are most gifts for loyalists. The president as the head of the state distributes these gifts to his loyalists (1), (2), (3). Due to the nature of its operation, loyalty to the political regime is certainly the single most important criteria. The law says that GI employees must not be politically active or be members of any political party, but the issue of trust is crucial especially that the director is appointed directly by the president (4).

According to our sources, the appointments decrees are based on suggestions from the closed inner circle of the president, and there is no vetting process in the selection or appointment of senior intelligence officers. It is not based on meritocracy or suitability but on how they can support the president (1), (2), (3).

The appointment of staff at the Estonian Internal Security Service (EISS) is regulated by the Security Authorities Act [1] and Police and Border Guard Act. [2]

According to the Security Authorities Act, a citizen of Estonia who has at least secondary-level education and full active legal capacity, and who is proficient in Estonian to the extent provided by the law or on the basis of the law may be employed in the service or employed as an official and an employee of a security authority. It is prohibited to employ in the service and employ in a security authority a person, who receives a pension, remuneration or other regular compensation from a state which is not a state within the European Economic Area or Switzerland or which does not belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is also prohibited to employ a person who lacks a Personnel Security Clearance for access to a state secret of a required level or a Personnel Security Clearance Certificate for access to classified information of a foreign state of the required level if this is a prerequisite for working in the position of an official or employee.

In accordance with the Police and Border Guard Act, the Director General of the EISS may be appointed a person who has been employed, prior to the appointment to position, for at least three years as the Director General, a Deputy Director General or the head of a structural unit of the Police and Border Guard Board or the Estonian Internal Security Service or the head of a surveillance authority, or as the Secretary General, a Deputy Secretary General or the head of a structural unit of the Ministry of the Interior, or as the head, deputy head or a head of department of a government authority within the area of government of the Ministry of the Interior, or as a foreman of a court, as a leading prosecutor, as a leading public prosecutor or as the Prosecutor General or for at least five years as the head or deputy head of another state authority.

The requirements set for a Deputy Director General and a prefect of the Police and Border Guard Board are established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

An official of a security authority may be appointed to a position without competition.

All the officials at the EISS have to pass the security vetting regulated by the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act. [3]

The Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service is appointed by the relevant minister, after having consulted the opinion of the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee. [4]
However, how and based on which criteria other senior positions are filled is not public information.
The Director General concludes, amends, suspends and terminates employment contracts with the employees of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. The Director General submits the personnel structure either to the Minister of Defence, or upon the approval of the Minister of Defence. [5]

In accordance with the Security Authorities Act, [1] an official and an employee of a security authority is not allowed to work for another employer, except with the written consent of the head of the authority, nor can they be members of a political party.

The Security Authorities Act also stipulates that an official of a security authority may be appointed to a position without any competition. [2] This means that the appropriate people are selected based on the officials’ personal contacts and networks. The competition for a specific position is not announced publicly. Estonia is a small country, so the pool of people to choose from is limited. The selection process is not transparent, as pointed out by the interviewee. [3]

On the other hand, the Estonian Internal Security Service [4] as well as the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service [5] have published an announcement on their website encouraging people to apply for a job at the Service. Neither of the institutions specify for which position though. They encourage the visitors to the website to submit an overview of their experiences and knowledge. Therefore, it appears that anyone has the opportunity to apply. Whether everyone’s application is objectively considered is difficult to say.

The National Audit Office has the supervision power over the Service, as well as the Ministry of Defence, in accordance with the Security Authorities Act. [6] On the other hand, as assessed by the interviewee, a Member of the Defence Committee, the personnel of Estonia’s intelligence services is highly secret. Very few people in the Defence Ministry know all the staff there.

The Assessor found no evidence of selection bias when filling senior positions within the intelligence services. There are no media reports about selection bias and the interviewees only pointed out that the selection is not public, without bringing up any problems related to it.

It is difficult to evaluate the vetting procedure by the Foreign Intelligence Service as it is not public information. Based on the interviewee, a Member of the Defence Committee, [1] once the appropriate people for the positions are identified, they enter an extremely thorough vetting procedure. Their licenses are processed for at least three months. The recruiters have the right to ask and obtain any information, and to access different online accounts. However, the vetting is not done by an external party. In fact, the Security Authorities Act [2] does not indicate that any supervision over the vetting process is in place. Based on the evidence, it is done internally by the intelligence services.

The security vetting of the Director and the Deputy Director of EISS is done by an external party, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. [3]

According to a written response of the Headquarters of the Defence Forces, the filling of positions in the Defence Forces is carried out according to the law and the clearing processes that the law enables, such as security clearances. [1] The Military Intelligence community is an integrated part of the FDF, and the civilian intelligence community (functionally SUPO) is completely separate and sits under the Ministry of Interior. Vacancies are announced as per Finnish constitution, law governing civil servants (750/1994) 8 §:n 2, [2] and administrative laws, as well as norms on how candidates should be compared (VM/2643/00.00.00/2018). Background checks are conducted according to the law governing security clearances (726/2014) . The decision on the head of civilian intelligence is made by the government, based on Minister of Interior recommendation (prepared by civil servants).

In the military, political affiliation is discouraged and participation in party politics forbidden, so for Military intelligence party affiliation or links to governing party are irrelevant. For the civilian intelligence component, the head of SUPO (which based on 2019 law is now formally head of civilian intelligence) was usually a competent but party affiliated individual. Speculation on the ‘practical eligibility’ of candidates is always rife, based on who is seen to be affiliated with which party. Formally it does not impact selection.

According to a written response of the Headquarters of the Defence Forces, the filling of positions in the Defence Forces is carried out according to the law and the clearing processes that the law enables, such as security clearances. [1]

The vetting process in terms of candidate selection for a future round is done based on guidance from the Ministry of Finance, and completed by civil servants and politicians (Minister of interior). The law governing background checks lists what personal records can be used, but they include financial records and prior to being given the position, they must give a full account of all ownership, private enterprise, wealth, other non-job related activities (membership in groups etc)

According to a written response of the Headquarters of the Defence Forces, the filling of positions in the Defence Forces is carried out according to the law and the clearing processes that the law enables, such as security clearances. [1]

In civilian matters, security clearance is carried out by Finnish Security and Intelligence Service; in military matters, by the Headquarters of the Defence Forces. A register of security clearances is maintained to prevent unnecessary clearances. In order to ensure the consistency of the procedure, Security Clearance Board has been established to operate in connection to the Ministry of Justice. The main task of the Board is to issue general recommendations to authorities carrying out security clearances to help them in the interpretation and application of the Security Clearance Act. [2]

Security Clerarance Act 726/2014 regulates the conditions and procedures for security clearance, information used for security clearance, consent from those under investigation and their right to information, information provision obligations of the those under investigation or requesting for it, validity of security clearance and its cancellation, and incorporation of personal registeries information in order to ensure impeccability of the person [3]. Furthermore, Act on the Handling of Personal Information in Criminal Matters and to Sustain National Security 1054/2018 regulates the authorities’ handling of personal information [4].

The criteria for selection for senior positions are unclear, as no objective selection criteria list exists. Senior positions within the intelligence services are generally filled either by high-ranking military officers, or if civilians, by senior diplomats (the current head of the DGSE is a former ambassador [1]) or high-ranking civil servants, most of them with the same professional and academic background: National School of Administration (ENA), then a professional career within one of the “grand corps” of the State. Senior positions in the intelligence services are generally appointed by decree of the Council of Ministers. [1]

Senior positions in the intelligence services are primarily a gift of the executive. [1] They are chosen by the executive and appointed by decree by the government. [2] There is no counter-power in this process, besides those senior roles filled by the Council of Ministers. [3] But the executive will still generally appoint agents that are fit for the position, not solely on the basis of political affiliation or support.

There is a vetting process to ensure the senior staff is eligible to have access to “secrecy of defence” information, but this vetting process isn’t done by an external party, but by the intelligence services themselves. They go through thorough research about the candidate (suitability, prior conduct, entourage, friends and family [1]) before validating them. It is only after this validation that the candidate is considered by the executive for the given position. No mentions of a potential hiring panel with security clearance, or the nature of the investigations, were found.

Article 33 of the German Constitution (Grundgesetz) stipulates that every German national has equal opportunities to run for public office if they have the skills and knowledge needed to fill the position. This technically rules out the undue preference of senior officials for certain positions in the intelligence services, as officials in the intelligence services are also public servants [1]. The selection criteria for senior positions within the intelligence services have the same legal foundation as the selection criteria for other public servants, which are covered in the German Constitution and more specifically the ‘Bundesbeamtengesetz’ (Federal Civil Service Act – BBG). The ‘Bundesbeamtengesetz’ does not stipulate specific selection criteria for senior officials within the state intelligence service [2].

The FAQ on the Military Counterintelligence Service (‘Militärischer Abschirmdienst’ – MAD) specify that only existing officers in the Bundeswehr can apply for positions within the service. The list of questions does not provide any information about the appointment of senior officials.

In general, senior positions within the intelligence services are subject to objective selection criteria [3]. With regard to personnel, the selection of top military personnel for the intelligence services is carried out on the same legal basis and according to the same written participation procedure as the regular selection processes. In this context, the user specifies the staffing criteria for filling the respective post (user requirements). However, there have been multiple cases of political factors taking precedence over objective criteria, which point to the highly politicised nature of these positions. For instance, Bruno Kahl’s appointment as head of the BND in 2016 [4], or the nomination of a new head of the MAD in 2020, a decision that reportedly did not involve external consultation beyond the MoD or a clear recruitment process [5].

Furthermore, all persons involved in the filling of posts must undergo a full security check. With regard to security aspects, staffing in the German intelligence services is based on the applicable administrative regulations. Security checks take place in accordance with the Security Verification Act (SÜG) [4].

According to the Ministry of Defence, there is no opportunity for intervention by third parties that may result in selection bias or undue influence in the selection of candidates [1]. However, in practice, there is evidence of selection bias with regard to senior intelligence positions, which are typically filled by persons close to the ruling party. The current head of the BND, for example, is a long-time protégé of the powerful CDU politician Wolfgang Schäuble [2].

All intelligence services provide some information about the application procedure and selection of candidates on their websites [3,4].

The investigation of candidates’ suitability is questionable, because elements of the vetting process are compromised or of low quality. The relevant law on the vetting process for intelligence personnel is the ‘Sicherheitsüberprüfungsgesetz’ (Law on Security Clearance and Classification – SÜG) [1]. This law also applies to the vetting process for senior positions in the intelligence services. Thus, there is no publicly accessible vetting process before a panel or committee (as in the United States Congress, for example). The hiring process happens completely behind close doors, within the realm of the executive.

Questions could be raised as to whether this process is always thoroughly followed. The former head of the domestic intelligence agency, for example, turned out not to be suitable for this position [2]. In 2016, the German Bundestag passed an amendment to the Act on the Legal Status of Military Personnel in order to prevent extremists from receiving military training from the Bundeswehr, stating that all accepted applicants will be subject to a security check by the Military Counterintelligence Service (‘Militärischer Abschirmdienst’ – MAD). Previously, the requirements for recruitment as a professional or temporary soldier, or as a volunteer, were a certificate of good conduct or consent to obtain appropriate information and a declaration of compliance with the Constitution. In practice, there is a risk of undetected extremists receiving military training and coming into contact with weapons and explosives.

According to the ‘Law amending the Act on the Legal Status of Military Personnel and other regulations relating to military law’ [3], which has now been adopted, from 1 July 2017, all selected applicants must go through a ‘simple security check’ before being hired. This is based on the requirements of the Federal Security Inspection Act and is carried out by the Military Counterintelligence Service [4].

The selection criteria for the senior positions within the intelligence services are not made publicly available by the Ministry of National Security or the Ministry of Defence (1), (2).

Senior positions in the intelligence services are appointed by the executive branch. According to Section13.2 of the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act (1996), “The Directors shall be appointed by the President in accordance with the advice of the Council given in consultation with the Public Services Commission and upon such terms and conditions as shall be determined by the appointing authority” (1).

The National Security Council is comprised of the president, vice-president, ministers and high-level officials of the defence and security institutions. The Public Services Commission exercises regulatory, supervisory, and consultative functions of the appointments within the public service servants (2).

The executive also nominates the members of the Public Services Commission, senior positions in the intelligence services are primarily a gift of the executive (3), (4), (5).

The current legal framework does not allow the parliament to scrutinise the appointments of senior positions within the intelligence services. Furthermore, no investigation of candidates’ suitability through vetting made by an external party is in place (1), (2).

The criteria for selection of senior positions within the intelligence services are unclear. In August 2019, the new Government changed the law regarding the eligibility criteria for the post of the Director of the National Intelligence Agency. He/she is no longer required to hold a university degree but only to have substantial professional experience [1].
The Law on Organization of the National Intelligence Service do not provide selection criteria for commander or deputy commander of NIA and only broad criteria which should be considered for selection of heads of service units. [2]

Senior positions in the intelligence services are primarily appointed by the Executive as a reward [1]. For example, one of the current deputy directors used to work as the director of New Democracy’s parliamentary group [2].

There is little or no investigation of individuals’ suitability or prior conduct. The most recent appointments to the National Intelligence Agency are a striking example of the inefficacy of the vetting process. For example, the current Director was initially thought to have a recognised university degree from a British institution but this was not the case [1,2]. There is little detail regarding the criteria over the other appointees’ (three Deputy Directors) qualifications.

The criteria for selection of senior positions are unclear for the public [1]. However, all appointed leaders have come from the wider national security apparatus, hence no “outsider” got to the top positions of any services. Frequently, the top leaders of one security service are later appointed to lead another service, thus leaders are sometimes “rotating” between the various national security services [2, 3, 4].

Impartiality has often been an issue when it comes to the links of the appointed leaders to the ruling party [1]. De jure there is no conflict of interests, the Law On National Security Services (CXXV./1995) [2] explicitly forbids any kind of political activity or party membership for intelligence services personnel, and all leaders comply with this. Hence, links to the ruling party are informal and institutionalised.

As all leaders of intelligence services come from the same career track, there is no separate external vetting in the selection procedure, and particularly none by any external party [1]. The reason is that as members of the intelligence services are anyways subject to the strictest and regularly repeated vetting, the relevant law (CXXV/1995) does not stipulate any separate vetting [2]. Candidates for leadership positions are obliged to be heard by the National Security Committee; however, this is not a vetting procedure, but a regular hearing.

India has a number of intelligence agencies and most are shrouded in secrecy. The most publicly prominent are the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is the country’s premier investigative agency; the Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency; Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s foreign intelligence agency; and the newly-formed National Investigative Agency (NIA), the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India. Officer level recruitment to these agencies is generally through university recruitment, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and lateral appointment from other Armed Forces and civil service cadres [1][2][3].

The Department of Personnel & Training ensures recruitment of personnel for the Government through the UPSC and the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) [4]. The UPSC is constituted under a provision of the Constitution and is responsible for conducting examinations for appointment to the higher civil services and civil posts under the Union Government; including recruitment to the All India Services [5]. There is a mandatory provision for consulting the Commission on all matters relating to methods of recruitment, principles to be followed in making promotions and transfers from one service to another and on all disciplinary matters.

In the case of R&AW, direct recruitment is through Research & Analysis Service (RAS) with its own exams; and at times absorption of UPSC Group A officer cadre. Direct recruitment at the Class I executive level can be from civil service officers undergoing the Foundation course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration [6].

Senior appointments are often through promotions and deputations from the state police at the SP, DIG or IG level, All India Services and secondment of military personnel [7]. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) helps decide senior appointments [8].

There currently is no legal base for the intelligence agencies in India and no legislation regarding selection criteria. In 2011, Member of Parliament Manish Tewari moved a Private Members Bill- The Intelligence Services (Powers & Regulation Bill), 2011. The bill lapsed [9][10].

There has been criticism that the Indian Police Service (IPS) has had a favoured status in the recruitment processes of a number of intelligence services [1]. Therefore, it can be noteworthy to analyse the IPS selection process. According to the Indian Police Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1954, recruitment to the Service is though competitive examination and by promotion of substantive members of a State Police Service. Recruitment is determined on each occasion by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government concerned [2].

According to the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954:
“1.3. The senior posts as notified in the schedule of each State cadre were
divided into three main categories, viz:-

(a) Senior posts under the State Government;
(b) Central Deputation Quota;
(c) Deputation Reserve.

The other categories and reserves, such as leave and training reserves and the
junior posts are ancillary to the three main categories described above” [3].

As alluded to in the previous question, senior appointments are often through promotions and deputations from the state police at the SP, DIG or IG level, All India Services and secondment of military personnel. The ACC headed by the Prime Minister, makes senior appointments in the intelligence agencies. Looking at recent appointments, there is no evidence of selection bias [4][5].

Given that the intelligence services are exempt from RTI, there’s no known legislature to cover the functioning of the intelligence services and disqualification for recruitment is not well documented [6]. This lack of transparency can potentially create high risks for bias.

Given the secrecy shrouding India’s intelligence agencies, no central recruitment handbook is in existence at present but analysis of the IAS and IPS recruitment processes are indicative of the degree of scrutiny. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) helps decide senior appointments and infers that there is a level of oversight [1]. Selection is primarily based on aptitude tests and promotion. After closely inspecting the recruitment regulations from the IPS, it seems that a vetting process is not explicitly referred to. This does not mean it does not exist. It is stated in the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954:

“1.7. Select Lists are intended to provide a ready list of screened State Service
Officers who can be appointed to vacancies that may occur in the promotion quota
during a particular year” [2].

The definition for ‘screened’ is not defined but is likely alluding to vetting.

According to a report by IDSA, “In an effort to counter stagnation at various levels, the concept of ‘in situ promotion’ has recently been introduced, with newly specified yardsticks of evaluation that are however discriminatory when compared to the prevailing norms for promotion in other services of Government of India at equivalent levels. This, coupled with the fact that deputation officers often earn promotions on the basis of work done by them in their parent departments in an entirely different environment, has led to needless heartburn and loss of morale at fairly senior levels of the intelligence services. This definitely needs to be reviewed to ensure a uniformity of practice and a balance between merit, objectivity and performance over a period of time” [3].

Law No. 17/2011 and Presidential Regulation No. 90/2012 concerning the State Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara/BIN), which was amended by Presidential Regulation No. 73/2017, do not contain specific criteria for the selection and appointment of BIN leadership roles or BIN senior officials [1,2,3]. According to Presidential Regulations No. 90/2012 and No. 73/2017, there are a number of Echelon Ia and Ib positions within the BIN, namely Deputy Chief, Principal Secretary, Principal Inspector, eight Deputies and five Expert Staffs. There are job descriptions and functions for each senior position but there are no specific criteria for each position. However, there is assurance that appointed senior officials have a track record of working in related fields [4], whereas director positions are usually held by career officials [4]. According to Law No. 17/2011, the Head of the BIN is appointed and dismissed by the President after being considered by the DPR. The process of appointing the Head of BIN begins with the nomination of a single candidate by the President to the DPR. There is no obligation for the President to form a special selection committee or release specific criteria when submitting candidates for the Head of BIN [5]. Meanwhile, senior positions are appointed and dismissed by the President based on proposals from the Head of BIN [2]. As public officials, leaders and senior officials in the field of intelligence are essentially subject to the rules related to the State Civil Apparatus (ASN). Law No. 5/2014 concerning the State Civil Apparatus mandates ASN employees to carry out public policies and services that are professional, free from political intervention and free from corruption, collusion and nepotism practices [6]. When it comes to the criteria for the Head of BIN, a number of parties in the government have different views. The National Commission on Human Rights, for example, has informally stated that the Head of the BIN must respect pluralism, be able to increase Indonesia’s influence in the international world, have competence and expertise in the field of intelligence, be independent and free from the influence of political party intervention, have never been indicated violating Human Rights and be committed to protecting human rights [7]. One government official also stated that the Head of the BIN must have a good track record in the field of intelligence, abandon party attributes and be good at coordinating data [8]. In other words, even if there are criteria for electing senior leaders and officials in intelligence services, they tend to be arbitrary and subjective.

According to Law No. 17/2011, the Head of BIN is appointed by the President after being considered by the DPR [1]. The President proposes a candidate to undergo a fit and proper test conducted by the DPR’s Commission I. There is no obligation for the President to form a special selection committee in determining the candidates to be nominated. During the fit and proper test, which usually takes place behind closed doors, the candidate for the Head of BIN expresses their vision and mission and outlines their work programme. The political nature of the position of Head of BIN makes the appointment process vulnerable to political intervention [2]. Since the Reformation, the position of Head of BIN has almost always been filled by people who have had close relations with the President [3].

According to Law No. 17/2011 concerning State Intelligence, the Head of BIN is appointed and dismissed by the President after being considered by the DPR [1]. The President proposes one candidate to be considered by the DPR. There is no obligation for the President to form a special independent selection committee to screen candidates for the Head of BIN. There is also no obligation for the DPR’s Commission I to involve external parties, such as academics and civil society representatives, during the fit and proper test. However, the involvement of external parties can occur informally through the policies of each faction in Commission I. After recognising the importance of technical expertise for positions such as the Head of BIN, a number of factions have begun to actively seek input and views from external parties, such as academics and civil society representatives, to gather their political opinions relating to the appointment of the Head of BIN [2]. Meanwhile, senior positions equivalent to Echelon I within the BIN are appointed by the President after receiving a proposal from the Head of BIN. This means that the process of selecting and appointing senior officials within the BIN is carried out in private with almost zero involvement of external parties. However, there are opportunities for external parties, such as academics and civil society representatives, to provide general input on intelligence-related issues through forums held by the Strategic Analyst Board (Dewan Analis Strategis/DAS). Although not specifically related to the criteria for appointing structural officials, these forums are often used by DAS to gather input, which is then conveyed to the Head of BIN [3].

The criteria for selection of senior posts are not publicly available [1]. The profile of the current Minister of Intelligence was made publicly available [2], but he has no experience in intelligence-security management [3].

The minister of intelligence is appointed by the president and approved by Parliament, but the supreme leader has the final say [1]. According to Hossein Bastani, the current minister of intelligence was reportedly not Rouhani’s preferred candidate for this position, but as this is one of the ministries of which the leadership has to be approved by the supreme leader, in reality, the president had little real choice in his appointment [2]

Candidates for the Ministry of Intelligence are said to go through a stringent vetting process [1, 2], although there is no evidence of full investigations of the candidate’s suitability through vetting by an external party, hiring panel with security clearance, and the right to call witnesses and demand information.

There is no evidence of selection criteria, applied in determining the best candidates for intelligence service positions. It’s unlikely that one exists when studying the established pattern of recruitment, particularly during Nuri al Maliki’s tenure (1). Iraq’s domestic intelligence services are overseen by the MoI, governed by Iraq’s 2005 Constitution, they focus on threats related to national security, terrorism and narcotics production, tracking, and organized crime. Article 5 of the CPA charter, responsible for the re-establishment of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, states “the INIS will take no action to further or undermine the interests of any legal Iraqi political party” and “have no power to arrest or detain persons”, but rather are expected to participate in joint-activities alongside other law enforcement authorities. One analyst notes, Iraq has a total of six intelligence agencies, noting that “[N]one of them collaborate or communicate with each other” Mustafa al-Kazemi, the latest Iraqi appointed as INIS director, is described by various sources, “as Tehran’s strongest ally in Baghdad” (2). His daughter is married to a prominent figure within the Dawa party. Kazemi was appointed shortly after Zuhair al Gharbawi was relieved from his post (3), as part of Abadi efforts to build a technocratic government.

Iraq’s post-2003 intelligence apparatus has undergone various changes and massive restructuring (1),(2) which is not directly responsible for ‘selection bias’ but has certainly erected organisational hurdles such as adherence to objective selection criteria — which is exacerbated by Iraq’s system of political apportionment (3). The system that America installed has been constantly challenged by pro-Iranian and pro-American elements, over its orientation and state of affairs. Written evidence of an objective criterion against which candidates are selected exists, but in practice, it has proven evadable beneath a variety of practices discussed widely across Iraqi media, tantamount to ‘selection bias’. These include blackmail. In 2017, MP Munazil al Moussawi accused Hanan al Fatlawi of blackmailing Intelligence Services threatening to expose illicit behaviour, in exchange for a payoff (4). General Qassim Atta’s transfer from his post as director of operations, was never explained but it is known that Atta started in the MoD and later sought an intelligence post. What is known is that he renegotiated his return to the MoD. Mustafa al Kazimi’s appointment one source (5) with whom Transparency spoke stated that “patrimonial links and cronyism is why he rose to that chair (5). He is married to the sister of the former Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi Al-Allaq. Political favouritism has been cited as another means by which meritocratic values and conventional methods of appointments are upended. MP Moussawi has gone on record arguing that “the former government worked to turn the intelligence establishment in its favour, which extends to the appointment of officers and senior officials without credible ranks or having gone through the sufficient training in highly-sensitive posts” (4). Summarising the predicament, he adds that, “The Iraqi National Intelligence Service’s appointments are not made on the basis of strategic planning or a future security vision, but mostly for electioneering purposes. It’s largely ad hoc and not in accordance with any legal framework”.

It’s doubtful that a vetting process exists, but appointments are approved by the PMO. The pattern of recruitment over the past 6 years suggests that only trusted affiliates of the Dawa Party, to which the current and former prime minister belong, are appointed into senior positions. An important criterion is their view and political stance towards Iran, and relations with other senior party figures. Patronage appears to be an important measure of senior-level appointments (1), (2).

Senior positions within the intelligence services are subject to basic objective selection criteria related to relevant experience and qualifications, however few details of these criteria are published (1) (2). In parallel, there is a committee for the examination of senior military and intelligence appointments. The Goldberg Committe examines the appointments of candidates put forward for the roles of head of the Mossad and head of the General Security Service (the Shabak), in the context of the candidate’s integrity (3). The committee does not examine the candidates in the context of their professional suitability, but only in terms of integrity. However, here too, it is unclear to what extent objective criteria are used to assess integrity.

In general, impartiality can be an issue due to links to the ruling party in the Knesset (e.g. favouritism within the political system) (1). For example, the Israel Security Agency (“Shin Bet”) and the Mossad are the intelligence organizations that belong to the government. The head of the Mossad is the prime minister’s “trust position” and he or she can appoint him or her without any problem (2) (3), though there are several laws in place that aim to avoid selection bias (4) (5) (6). Still, senior position are based on merit and promoted internally, with only the heads of organisations selected by the Prime Minister as trust positions.

There is a full investigation of candidates’ suitability through vetting by external party for senior officials which also includes a hiring panel with security clearance, and the right to call witnesses and demand information (1). As part of the examination process the Committee for the Examination of Appointments for Senior Positions – whose members are a retired Supreme Court Judge, the Commissioner of the Public Service and two representatives of the public, and which is therefore an external party – examines the suitability of candidates for the role of head of the Mossad or head of the General Security Service, in terms of integrity. The said examination includes several vetting processes. For example, after submitting a candidate for the role of head of the Mossad or head of the General Security Service, the nominating Minister or the Prime Minister must submit to the Committee the candidate’s resume, and the main reasons for the nomination – including information about the candidate’s professional background, specifically regarding past performance. The Committee can also summon any other person it believes may assist the examination process, or request to receive a written opinion from any person including the Attorney General. Having received information regarding a candidate, which requires further inquiry or investigation, the Committee may request the Attorney General’s opinion regarding the said information (1).
The vetting process also includes vetting in relation to candidates’ integrity, which is carried out by the Goldberg Committee. The Committee is responsible for vetting senior military and intelligence candidates put forward by the government and assessing whether there are any red flags related to their integrity (2).

According to Law 124/2007 (article 1 (e) and (f)) that modified national intelligence services, the Prime Minister nominates and revokes the Director General of the intelligence services and one or more Deputy Secretary Generals, as well as the directors and deputy directors of intelligence services’ agencies [1].

The law provides for just formal selection criteria. Indeed, the Director General of the Department of information for Security (Dipartimento d’Informazioni per la Sicurezza, DIS) (article 4.6) has to be a first level manager; their mandate is of four years and can be renewed one time. The same applies to the Director Generals of both the Italian agency for internal security and the one for external security [2].

Appointment of senior positions are decided by the Prime Minister in accordance with the Interministerial Committee. In the occasion of the last nominees, Prime Minister Conte explicitly said that bonds of trust between the executive and intelligence services are needed [1]. Moreover, given the fact that nominees are decided by the ruling party, it facilitates the appointment of people politically close to the government [2] [3]. It is also for this reason that the president of the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic is guided by a representative of the opposition [4].

Article 30 of law 124/2007 defines the consultative functions of the Parliamentary committee for the Security of the Republic [1]. The article specifies that the President of the Council of Ministers informs the Committee on the nominees for senior and managerial positions of the intelligence services, but there is no other reference on the possibility to carry out a vetting process. As such, there is not enough information to score this indicator.

The Japanese intelligence institutions are headed by civil servants or Self-Defence Force (SDF) officials. The Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and the Director of Cabinet Intelligence, who is also the head of Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office (CIRO), are designated Special service national public employees in the National Civil Service Law. [1] Therefore, the provisions of this law, which apply to most national civil servants, do not apply to these two civil servants. [2] Instead, the Secretary General of the NSS, Director of Cabinet Intelligence, deputy positions in the NSS and assistant positions in CIRO are listed in articles 17 and 20 of the Cabinet Act, suggesting they are directly appointed by the Prime Minister. [3,4,5,6] An explicit description of the selection criteria for senior positions in the NSS and CIRO is not found on the webpages of the Cabinet Secretariat, to which these institutions belong. However, political considerations play a role in these appointment decisions. For example, one scholar has written that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to appoint Kitamura and Yachi in Director General level positions in the Cabinet Secretariat, because he wished to appoint trusted civil servants in key positions. [7] With regard to the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA), Masaki Wada was appointed Director General of the Agency in May 2020. He came from the position as Trial Director at the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office and before that he was Director General of the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. [8] His predecessor Seimei Nakagawa had previously worked in the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office. [9] The website of PSIA gives information about entry level recruitment, but not about selection to senior positions. [10]

According to legislation passed in 2014, appointment to executive civil servant positions covered by the National Public Service Law is to be based on the Prime Minister’s assessment of personnel appraisal, and will apply to appointment of the head of PSIA. [11] Manuals for personnel appraisal, which include criteria for personnel at the highest rank, are found on the homepages of the Cabinet Secretariat. [12] The personnel appraisal that has been conducted in the Ministry in which the candidate has worked is assessed by the Prime Minister (who often delegates this to the Chief Cabinet Secretary). Based on this, the Chief Cabinet Secretary produces a list of candidates who meet the requirements of the position. The Minister of the Ministry in which the selected candidate will be appointed consults with the Prime Minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary about the appointment. Finally, the Minister makes an appointment decision. [13] The Defence Intelligence Headquarters (DIH) in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) conducts radio wave, image, geographical and publication analysis. Lieutenant General Mitsuru Nodomi was appointed head of the DIH on December 20, 2019. [14] Information on appointments to senior positions in the DIH could not be found on its website. [15] The head of the DIH is, however, an SDF Official, i.e. a uniformed member of the SDF, and is appointed by the Minister of Defence. [16] The Prime Minister does not screen candidates for this position. [11] [16] Selection of the head of the DIH is to be based on test results, the content of training courses taken and personnel assessment. [17] A manual on personnel assessment is found on the homepages of the Ministry of Defence. [18] Hence, the Prime Minister has a large discretion in the appointment of the heads of NSS and CIRO, and political suitability carries a large weight in these appointments. The Prime Minister screens candidates to head PSIA. This assessment is to build on objective personnel assessment criteria, but only the core principles of these criteria have been disclosed in manuals, and political suitability is also assessed. The procedure for assessing candidates for the position as head of the DIH leaves less room for considering political suitability.

The government of Prime Minister Abe, which lasted from 2012 to 2020, increased the intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office into the appointment of personnel to the highest positions in the civil service. For example, in 2013, the Abe administration appointed a Foreign Ministry official believed to support the government’s stance on Constitutional revision as the head of the Cabinet Legislative Bureau, which is responsible for Constitutional interpretation, thereby overruling the precedent of selecting the Bureau’s leader by internal promotion. [1] New legislation adopted in 2014 changed the procedure for appointing bureaucrats to the approximately 600 highest civil service positions. Following this revision, the Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary screen applicants to such positions before the responsible Minister makes the appointment (see Q22A). This replaced an arrangement under which a review committee led by the Chief Cabinet Secretary with members from the Prime Minister’s Office sanctioned appointments made by the responsible Ministers. [2] The Chief Cabinet Secretary has screened candidates to ensure that those who are considered for appointment are loyal to the Prime Minister. [3] Candidates for the position as head of PSIA are screened by this procedure (see Q22A). Prime Minister Abe also appointed bureaucrats that he trusted as heads of the two intelligence organisations within the Cabinet Secretariat (commonly known as the Prime Minister’s Office), the NSS, which he established in 2014, and CIRO. It should be noted, however, that the heads of these two organisations are directly appointed by the Prime Minister (see Q 22A). Furthermore, citizens who become national civil servants (such as head of PSIA) or SDF personnel retain their right to vote but are not allowed to be active in a political party. [4] [5] Neither have the incumbent heads of the NSS or CIRO, although directly appointed by the Prime Minister, been active in a political party. [6] [7] Therefore, those who are appointed do not have overt ties to the ruling party. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that Naoya Imai was appointed Executive Secretary to the Prime Minister and Shotaro Yachi was appointed Secretary General of the NSS, [3] although they disagreed about key policy issues such as what approach Japan should take to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, thus providing the Prime Minister with different policy proposals to consider. [8] Nevertheless, while the Abe administration tried to achieve balance in the appointment of personnel to higher civil service positions including those in the Cabinet Secretariat the last few years, support of the government is sometimes a criterion of selection to executive civil service positions. [3] The aim to strengthen control of the bureaucracy by the Cabinet Secretariat was shared by the Democratic Party led government that was in power 2009-2012. [9] On the other hand, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretariat do not screen candidates for the position as head of DIH. Instead, the Ministry of Defence assesses these candidates by examining test results, courses taken and personnel assessment (see Q22A). This is evidence that the political position of the incumbent government affects appointment to this position less. Hence, reports by journalists indicate that the Abe administration’s control of appointments makes civil servants adapt to what they think is the Prime Minister’s line rather than endeavoring to execute their work in accordance with professional criteria. [10] [11] One scholar points out that the control of appointments may make loyalty to the Prime Minister override loyalty to the Minister under whom the civil servants work. [3]

Criteria for assessing the suitability of candidates to head NSS and CIRO were not found on the webpages of the Cabinet Secretariat, to which these organisations belong. [1] Neither was vetting of candidates mentioned in articles about the incumbent heads of these two organisations in the mainstream newspapers Asahi Shimbun [2] and Yomiuri Shimbun. [3] The Cabinet Law, which states that the Prime Minister is to appoint the heads of these two organisations (see Q22A) does not provide any instructions about vetting of candidates. [4] Nor were any criteria for investigating the suitability of candidates to head PSIA found on its homepages. [5] However, from the articles in the National Civil Service Law, it follows that candidates for this position are to be screened by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (see Q22A). [6] Such screening shall consider the personnel assessment of the candidate that has been conducted. [7] When personnel assessment has not been carried out because they have worked in an international organisation or private company or for other reasons, the candidate’s demonstrated ability shall be assessed. [8] The Cabinet shall specify the details of what is to be screened in a Cabinet Order after hearing the opinions of the National Personnel Authority, which is a separate agency with some authority over personnel affairs. [9] In addition, the Minister is to consult with the Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary before appointing a candidate. [10] According to a manual for personnel assessment of civil servants, found on the homepages of the Cabinet Secretariat, the aptitude of candidates should be assessed annually and employment results semiannually. [11] According to this manual, civil servants in executive positions are to be assessed as well. Therefore, the appraisal of administrative vice-ministers is mentioned briefly and a two-page form for assessing director generals is included. [11] The person who headed PSIA in October 2020 had previously worked in agencies in which personnel assessment is required, and the Chief Cabinet Secretary can have considered this assessment before the person was appointed. As for candidates for leading the DIH, vetting is conducted by assessing their test results, the content of courses taken and personnel assessment (see Q22A). The head of the DIH in October 2020 had previously worked in the SDF, [12] which conducts personnel assessment by examining aptitude and work results. [13] No information has been found on vetting of candidates for head of the NSS or CIRO. Candidates for head of PSIA and DIH are vetted for job suitability, which includes personnel assessment of prior conduct in their work roles. No confirmation has been found that prior conduct outside work roles or of financial records is assessed for candidates for any of the positions above, except that persons who have been subjected to certain measures for committing crimes may not head the PSIA or DIH.

The criteria for selection for senior positions within the intelligence sector in Jordan is unclear. Historically, the appointments of the chief of intelligence services have taken place through Royal Decrees [1, 2 and 3]. According to the Official Site of the Jordanian e-Government portal, the Chief of the General Intelligence Directorate is appointed by Royal Decree, and recruitment for other positions within the intelligence stipulates that candidates must possess educational qualifications and must pass a security check [4]. However, senior positions within the intelligence services, other than the chief, are usually filled through appointments, either by the King, the chief of the intelligence directorate, or through recommendations by members of the royal family or other senior intelligence personnel. A major criterion besides qualifications, is loyalty to the King and candidates have be influential within their tribe [5]. These appointments do not seem to have any criteria, other than closeness to the royal family or other intelligence personnel, therefore the objectivity of such appointments is questionable.

Whilst it is difficult to provide a definitive answer around bias in relation to the appointment and selection of intelligence personnel in Jordan, evidence points to appointments being biased [2, 3, 4], as they rely on Royal Decrees rather than a recruitment process [1]. This indicates that appointments are biased as appointees are often individuals loyal to the Hashemites. There is also no evidence of these senior appointments being a gift of the executive and/or any clear selection criteria [5].

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence.

According to a former officer [1], the vetting process is very serious and complicated in the intelligence agency. It includes security checks, exams, interviews and recommendations from other units. It also takes into consideration his family background and societal ties.

The criteria for selecting senior officials of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) particularly the Director-General (DG) and other Directors within the service is well outlined in the National Intelligence Service Act of 2012. [1] Appointment of other members of the service is not entirely clear. The Act notes that these members are appointed by the NIS Council, which is made up of (Cabinet Secretary’s (CS) responsible for National Intelligence, Foreign affairs, and Finance as well as the Attorney General and NIS DG. However, the Act does not elaborate the criteria that other directors are required to meet, other than meeting the following criteria: polygraph testing, security clearance and being competent on security as determined by the DG. Moreover, there is no publicly known CS responsible for National intelligence. Nonetheless, in general practice, most of the other positions in the NIS are subject to objective selection criteria. [2]

Although the criteria of selecting members of the services are, in general, outlined in the NIS Act; there are issues of impartiality. This is especially for other members of the service. The main reason is due to limited oversight by external bodies. [1]

Other than the position of Director General, who is vetted by Parliament, there is no external evaluation of competencies and suitability of candidates for the service by other bodies even within governent other than the NIS itself. Lack of oversight, observes the respondent, allows other factors such as political cronysism to overshadow competitive recruitment processes. The renewal of the current DG, Philip Wachira Kameru, is an indicator, press reports mention, of high-level team having lobbied for his renewal. [2]

All individuals joining the service according to the National Intelligence Service Act of 2012 have to undergo Security screening by service. [1] This involves background checks on personal information, criminal records and financial records. There are issues on suitability of candidates partly because this process can only be conducted by NIS and information is largely from government bodies rather than inclusion of an external entity in the vetting process. [2]

The Law on Kosovo Intelligence Agency precisely stipulates that senior officials within the Agency should be selected based on objective criteria: the Agency’s Director must have a university degree and must be appointed on the basis of demonstrated professionalism and experience [1]. The Director is appointed for a term of five years, which may be renewed once [1]. The Deputy Director must also have a university degree and is appointed on the basis of demonstrated professionalism and experience, and without consideration of any political affiliation, for a five-year renewable term which shall run independently from the term of the Agency’s Director [2]. The Inspector General shall be appointed on the basis of integrity, compliance with the security standards of the Intelligence Agency and experience in the field of Kosovo security or governmental administration [3]. The Inspector General serves for a term of four years, which may be renewed for a further term of four years [3]. These selection criteria are applied in practice by the candidates [4].

Based on legal provisions of the Law on KIA, its Director (1), Deputy Director (2) and the Inspector General (3) are jointly appointed by the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo. In such cases impartiality cannot be fully guaranteed given that the three senior positions are appointed by the President and the Prime Minister who potentially might not be objective during the selection process (4). Furthermore, the candidates selected and appointed in these senior position could be linked with the ruling party of the acting Prime Minister of Kosovo (AAK) and previous political party of the current President of Kosovo (PDK) (5).

The current Law on Kosovo Intelligence Agency does not specifically stipulate that candidates are subject to investigation before or after being appointed to their senior positions of Director, Deputy Director or Inspector General in the agency. Based on the current Law on Classification of Information and Security Clearances, a candidate may have access to information classified as “Confidential”, “Secret” or “Top Secret” provided that person has a valid security certificate [1], meaning that they must be provided by security certificate. In addition, the Vetting Department within the Agency is responsible for conducting security clearances for all Kosovo public authorities and their contractors [2].
Additionally, a Law on Protection of Classified Information was drafted by the Government in mid-2018 to establish a unique system for protection of classified information related to the security interests of Kosovo. This draft aims to establish the Agency for Protection of Classified Information as the Vetting Authority in Kosovo [3], and in doing so, to shift the Vetting Authority out of the Intelligence Agency and transfer this responsibility to another institution [4]. The draft law has still not been adopted by the acting Government, and therefore has not proceeded to the Assembly for approval. According to the government reviwer, the list of official positions that have access to Classified information no. 40/2015 determines which position in which level of classification is categorized.

There is no clear criteria for the selection of high ranking officials in the intelligence services (and in the police, military and KNG in general). Article 60 of Law. 23 of 1967 (1) for police affairs says the criteria for appointments is to be issued by the Minister, and the law generally does not require him to make it public.

Officials and activists say that intelligence posts are often given as gifts to allies of the Emir because they come with generous benefits and prestige, but there are instances when the posts are given to officers with sufficient experience (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).

The current Interior Minister, who oversees the intelligence service, Khaled al-Jarah al-Sabah, is from the royal family, according to KUNA (7). His post has never been filled by someone outside the family, even though many of the Ministry’s experienced leaders are from outside the family (and the Defence Ministry’s hiring policy is similar), a Kuwaiti royal said (8). This shows that the royal family continues to keep the top seats in the Ministry to its members.

The candidates’ profiles are examined by the General Committee for Police Affairs, which is formed by the Minister, to evaluate, promote, demote and fire officers, according to article 8 of Law. 23 of 1967 for police affairs (1). It is, however unclear if this committee has the right to summon experts and demand information because the law does not explain its powers.

Only civilian appointments are later reviewed by the CSC but their auditors do not take advantage of their powers to question witnesses and demand information generally, a senior official from the agency said (2). When they do request information, the Ministry usually ignores them and they end up including this dismissal in their annual report, which they hand to the Parliament, where lawmakers also ignore it.

Therefore, even though the Minister’s pick goes through a process for approval, it is a weak one.

There are three intelligence services in Latvia: the Security Police (DP), Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) and Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIDD). They operate according to the Law on State Security Institutions [1] and their specific by-laws. [2] [3] [4]. The State Security Service has overtaken the duties of Security Police.
The director of the SAB is appointed by the Parliament for a term of 5 years based on the proposal of the National Security Council (headed by the President of Latvia); he or she has to have a higher education degree and a first grade (highest) permit to access state secrets, and not be subject to limitations set by law. [2] The current director was approved first in 2013 and renewed in 2018.
The chief of the DP is appointed and removed by the Cabinet of Ministers upon the recommendation of the Minister for the Interior. There are no limits to the term of office. [3] The current chief was approved in 2014.
There are no clear and explicit procedures as to how the chief of the MIDD is appointed and removed from office. [4] The current director was appointed in 2002; [5] according to public information, this was done by the Cabinet of Ministers following a proposal by the Minister of Defence. [6]
Regarding other senior positions, only information about deputies is available publicly, but not their selection criteria.

There have been no reports of interventions by third parties in the selection process, and the director of the SAB and the chief of the DP have been selected in different ways, though based on the political consensus of the ruling coalition at the time. The selection process of the chief of the MIDD is less clear, since the current chief has served in the post since 2002. The Law on National Security Institutions stipulates that the three intelligence services are under the control of respective government offices. State Security Service has overtaken the duties of Security Police. The criteria set out that precludes the employment of an individual are the following:
1) he or she is not a citizen of Latvia;
2) he or she does not have at least secondary education;
3) he or she does not know the Latvian language according to the necessary level of fluency in the official language and at least one foreign language;
4) he or she is under the age of 18;
5) he or she has been held criminally liable and has been convicted of an intentional criminal offence, as well as disclosing of a official secret through negligence, except in the case where the person has been rehabilitated;
6) he or she has been deprived of access to the official secret;
7) he or she has been dismissed from the office by a court judgment in a criminal matter;
8) his or her capacity to act is limited in accordance with the procedures laid down in law;
9) he or she is or has been a permanent or freelance staff employee of the security service (intelligence or counterintelligence service) of the U.S.S.R., Latvian S.S.R. or some foreign state, or an agent, resident or keeper of safe house (any covert organisation of any form thereof);
10) he or she after 13 January 1991, has worked in the C.P.S.U. (L.C.P.), the Working People’s International Front of the Latvian S.S.R., the United Council of Labour Collectives, the Organisation of War and Labour Veterans or the All-Latvia Salvation of Society Committee. [1] It is important to mention that a person not fitting these criteria is unlikely to receive a security clearance, with the rules being set out in the Law on State Secret, which in Article 9, section 3 argues that access to confidential, secret or top secret information will not be granted for such individuals. [2] There is no evidence that this process is not adhered to properly.

The director of the SAB is appointed by the Parliament for a term of 5 years based on the proposal of the National Security Council (headed by the President of Latvia); he or she has to have a higher education degree and a first grade (highest) permit to access state secrets, and not be subject to limitations set by law. [1] The chief of the DP is appointed and removed from office by the Cabinet of Ministers upon the recommendation of the Minister for the Interior. There are no limits to the term of the office. [2] There is no vetting system in place but the selection of candidates mostly takes place at a governmental level and is always debated in the National Security Council under the auspicies of the President. The names of the candidates are widely debated in the media.
There are no clear and explicit procedures as to how the chief of the MIDD is appointed and removed from office. [3] According to public information, the current chief was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers upon proposal of the Minister of Defence. [4]
Regarding other senior positions, only information about deputies is available publicly, but not their selection criteria or vetting process.

Selection criteria exist for appointments for senior ranks (1). However, the criteria are not published or announced to the public (2). For example, the National Defence Law does not identify the allocated sect for the post (2).

In the post-2005 period, senior appointments – including to the intelligence services – reflect the horse-trading and balance of power between the competing sectarian political factions (1). Designation by the Military Council is a case in point (1). Thus, The sects and connections to political parties are integral for an appointment, especially for first degree and deputy positions in the LAF (1). Yet, competencies are a key requirement for appointment of candidates (2).

There is no clear and transparent vetting process for the selection of the head of the intelligence service (1). The head of the intelligence branch is appointed based on the Military Council’s suggestion and approval of the minister of defence (2). However, according to an interviewee, criteria for appointments usually include the cohort, rank, and background depending on the position, etc. taking into consideration the sectarian allocation of the post (3).

According to the Lithuanian Law on Intelligence Services, individuals shall be recruited in accordance with the general selection procedure as set out by the Director of the State Security Department and the Minister of National Defence in order to assess whether a person is suitable for the position within the intelligence institution. During the selection procedure, the candidate might undergo psychological tests and other capacity assessments. He or she has to declare their interests and other information about himself/herself. Persons for senior positions undergo different procedures: the Head of the Intelligence service is appointed by the President with approval from Parliament; Vice-Directors are appointed by the President; Heads of Departments are appointed by the Minister of Defence [1]. Qualitative interviews did not indicate otherwise [2].

The Law on Intelligence services states that a candidate who wishes to serve (work) for the intelligence services cannot be affiliated to a political party and organisation, or in any way support them. The candidate has to declare their interests and they cannot have any family ties within the intelligence services [1]. Selection criteria for candidates is available online [2].
There is no media coverage or other kind of public information stating evidence of intervention in the selection of candidates by third parties. Yet, there were a few press articles regarding nominations of the Prosecutor General and possible influence from businesses [2]. Director for Intelligence Service, vice-directors are appointed by the President and there is a possibility for bias or undue influence. However, there is no evidence for that.

Based on the Law on Intelligence Services, the candidate has to submit a written agreement for his/her personal information to be checked for security clearance [1]. For example, the State Security Department states that the candidate has to be assessed on the basis of confidentiality and ability to work with secret information. In order to do so, the polygraph test might be used [2]. Additionally, the Special Investigation Service which would be an external party, performs anti-corruption background checks of all high-level officials, in particular those that are nominated by the President, Parliament, Government as well as Vice-ministers, Heads of State enterprises and Mayors, etc. (3).

Senior appointments and promotions also go through rigorous vetting in addition to the background checks that are conducted for all intelligence officers. The criteria for selection depends on the level of seniority in the service. The appointment of the Director General of the National Defence Intelligence Centre, for instance, must be approved by the Army Council, which is chaired by the Chief of the Defence Force. [1] Nonetheless, elements of political connection, such candidate’s close relations with the political leadership can influence the selection at this level. This has been illustrated in several reports and, moreover, there have been cases where the Bahagian Staf Perisikan Pertahanan (Division of Defence Intelligence Staff) have been used for “covert propaganda activities to be carried out to discredit the opposition political parties and opposition politicians during the run-up to GE14”. [2] This suggests a close relationship between the intelligence services and the political leadership.

The appointment of senior officers to the National Defence Intelligence Office (BSPP) is not without political influence as outlined in 22A. No specific inside details could be found and this evidence is pulled from secondary sources such as newspaper reports. These reports state that the Director of the BSPP has been subject to political influence by the ruling party. It was reported in 2017 that the then Prime Minister, Najib Razak, transferred RM7 million (USD 1.6million) to the Director General of the BSPP, Lieutenant Gen Abdul Hadi Hussin, one month prior to the 13th General elections. The money is said to have been used for political purposes, especially to drum up support for the ruling government. [1] The allegations continued during the General elections in 2018. [2] Another revelation came out in January 2020 that Najib’s phone conversations were tapped while he was Prime Minister, presumably by intelligence operators, suggesting that the intelligence service could have a de facto “policy” of monitoring a variety of potential security threats – even those that may come from the executive. [3] A former military intelligence officer revealed that the military intelligence is used by the executive to conduct politically motivated activities during elections. [4] A respondent from UMNO who has extensive experience working across the public and private sectors indicated that the monitoring of numerous high-level politicians (both in government and in the opposition) is an established and entrenched practice. He described this as an open secret among those more experienced in politics. This shows that intelligence circles may wish to maintain leverage on political leaders. [5]

There is a vetting process whereby any senior appointments must be vetted by the Military Council, which is chaired by the Chief of the Armed Forces. The Military Council and the Armed Forces Board are responsible for the vetting and for ensuring that the right candidate is chosen for the job. But often the appointments are politically motivated. [1] Reports on the political inclination of the Director General of the BSPP and other seniors officials raise doubts as to the professionalism of the intelligence services. [2] [3]

Mali’s intelligence service, the Direction Generale de la Sécurité d’Etat (DGSE), is primarily involved in counter-terrorism operations and works with French intelligence services.³ ⁴ ⁵ ⁶ Basic facts such as its annual budget and the size of its personnel are not publicly known. It does not have a website. The selection criteria for senior positions within the intelligence services are not transparent, as there is scant information relating to how or on what basis individuals are chosen in the public domain (see 22B for one exception). It is not clear whether or not objective criteria are considered and whether appointees meet all the professional requirements for assuming such responsibilities. Numerous sources indicate that the secret services have long been corrupt, ineffective and plagued by nepotism.¹ ² ³

In 2013, shortly after his election, President Keita appointed Colonel Moussa Diawara as the Director General of the DGSE. Diawara previously served as IBK’s aide de camp when Keita was president of the National Assembly between 2002 and 2007.⁷ ⁸ Local media outlets regarded the nomination as IBK installing a close and trusted ally at the head of the state’s security service.⁷ ⁸ Although Diawara has considerable military experience, it is unclear how or why he was chosen and what selection process he went through. It appears that it was simply up to the president to decide who he wanted to appoint.

There is no information in the public domain relating to the nature of any vetting process in place for senior intelligence appointments. To appoint Diawara as DG in 2013, IBK first had to sack the incumbent, Sidy Alassane Touré, who had been designated DG by the ex-captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who briefly served as transitional president following the military coup in 2012. The reason for Touré’s sacking was not officially disclosed. But local media reported numerous reasons. Touré had reportedly been using the DGSE to track politicians and journalists whom he disliked and subject them to unspecified “unpleasantness”.⁸ He also stood accused of circulating recordings of IBK’s telephone conversations prior to the 2013 presidential election. Although these allegations cannot be substantiated, the seriousness of such accusations hints at major failings in the vetting and monitoring of senior intelligence officials.
The case is far from isolated. In 2009, Colonel Kassoum Goita, who at the time was head of the Direction de la Sécurité Militaire (DSM), was implicated in an affair that involved the trafficking and laundering of forged dollar bills.³ This did not prevent him from rejoining the DSM in 2016, when he was appointed DG of the organisation.⁹ Goita had also previously been confined to his barracks for 60 days for misappropriating funds between 2000 and 2002.¹⁰ Such instances point to major failings in the vetting process. A member of the CDSPC confirmed to the assessor that the committee does not play a role in scrutinising or vetting appointments within the intelligence services.¹⁰

The National Intelligence Centre (formerly the Centre for Research and National Security, CISEN) is headed by a Director General, who is appointed by the Secretary for Citizen Security and Protection. [1] In turn, the positions that make up the support cabinet of the Director General will belong to a freely appointed subsystem. [2]

Although the criteria for selection are not clear, civil society organisation members and journalists point out that for these types of positions, governments have rewarded personal loyalty to the president above competency. [3] [4]

The Director General has the discretion to designate positions, as well as to approve and revoke the appointments of freely appointed personnel. [1]

In this regard, CSOs point to bias in the designations of superior positions, and the lack of legislative and administrative controls. [2] For example, the former CISEN Comptroller was in office for a little over 21 years and journalists have mentioned that he remained in the position out of servility and not because of his efficiency in the role. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Journalistic notes evidence that the suitability of individuals in these positions is not investigated and, consequently, that the superior positions have been filled by people with little or no experience in matters of intelligence or national security. [1] [2] Such was the case of the last Secretary General who was fired after 7 months in office. [3] [4]

This may imply political influence in the intelligence work and possible commission of acts of corruption.

The Director and Chief Inspector of the National Security Agency are appointed by the Government, upon receiving the opinion of the parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security. [1] Other positions are filled by the Director on the basis of internal procedures of the Agency [2] which are not publicly available. [3]

According to the MoD, senior positions within the intelligence services are subject to objective selection criteria. [4][5][6] The work of the National Security Agency is managed by the Director of the Agency. The Director of the Agency is appointed and dismissed by the Government, at the proposal of the Prime Minister. The Government submits the proposal for the appointment of the Director of the Agency to the Parliament of Montenegro for an opinion.The Assembly, after discussion in the competent working body, gives an opinion. The Director of the Agency is appointed for a period of five years and may be reappointed. The Director of the Agency is responsible to the Government for his work and the work of the Agency. The Director of the Agency cannot be a member of a political party, nor act politically. In the event of termination of office of the Director of the Agency before the expiration of the term for which he was appointed, the Government may appoint an acting director of the Agency for a maximum period of six months. (Article 25 Law on National Security Agency)

Director of the Military Intelligence and Security Affairs in the MOD, may be a person who, in addition to the general conditions prescribed by the Law on civil servants and state employees, must also meet the special condition – at least ten years of work experience in the field with VII1 level of education qualification, of which at least five years in managerial positions in the field of security. The Director is appointed by the Government, at the proposal of the Minister of Defence, with the positive opinion of the competent working body of the Parliament of Montenegro. The Director is accountable to the Minister of Defense for his work. The director cannot be a member of a political party, nor act politically. (Article 33 of Law on Military Intelligence and Security Affairs).

The Government appoints the Director and Chief Inspector of the National Security Agency, upon receiving the opinion of the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security, but no criteria for their selection are defined. [1] One former head of the Agency [2] was a high ranking official of the ruling party, [3] while another former head of intelligence is the current Prime Minister. [4]

Each individual employed in the National Security Agency is investigated prior to employment. [1] However, in several cases, high level officials of the Agency were accused of links with organised crime. [2][3][4][5][6][7]

According to the MoD, there is full investigation of candidates’ suitability through vetting by an external party. This includes a hiring panel with security clearance, and the right to call witnesses and demand information. The Law on Military Intelligence Affairs, adopted by the Government of Montenegro in December 2019, defines the criteria for high-level positions in intelligence structures. In particular, a minimum of 5 years of experience in security field positions is foreseen for these positions. The Director General cannot be a member of a political party or act politically. [8][9]

The lack of transparency and clear selection criteria for senior positions within the intelligence service suggests that these positions have so far been filled without following a set protocol. This means that no objective investigation of their suitability or of their prior conduct takes place. No list of vacant and filled positions is publicly available or communicated to the press.

The heads of the different intelligence services are appointed directly and personally by the King without any public justification. The current Head of the Managing Director for National Security (Direction générale de la Sûreté Nationale or DGSN), Abdellatif Hammouchi, was appointed under these circumstances on May 15 2015, while in parallel keeping his position as Managing Director of the General Directorate of Safety of the Territory (General Director of the Direction Générale de la Sûreté du Territoire, or DGST)(1)

The series of coup attempts in the 1970s caused the King to tighten his control over potential counter-powers such as the intelligence services.

The heads of the different intelligence services are appointed directly and personally by the King without any public justification. The current Head of the Managing Director for National Security (Direction générale de la Sûreté Nationale or DGSN), Abdellatif Hammouchi, was appointed under these circumstances on May 15 2015, while in parallel keeping his position as Managing Director of the General Directorate of Safety of the Territory (General Director of the Direction Générale de la Sûreté du Territoire, or DGST)(1)
The series of coup attempts in the 1970s caused the King to tighten his control over potential counter-powers such as the intelligence services (2)(3). The appointment of of senior positions are as much a gift to reward loyalty to the King as they are a way to maintain control by the latter.

The heads of the different intelligence services are appointed directly and personally by the King without any public justification. The current Head of the Managing Director for National Security (Direction générale de la Sûreté Nationale or DGSN), Abdellatif Hammouchi, was appointed under these circumstances on May 15 2015, while in parallel keeping his position as Managing Director of the General Directorate of Safety of the Territory (General Director of the Direction Générale de la Sûreté du Territoire, or DGST). (1)

The series of coup attempts in the 1970s caused the King to tighten his control over potential counter-powers such as the intelligence services (2)(3). The appointment of of senior positions are as much a gift to reward loyalty to the King as they are a way to maintain control by the latter.

With regard to the appointment of General Ye Win Oo as the Chief of Military Security Affairs, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said that he was appointed according to the criteria, the three capabilities set by the Tatmadaw, and was appointed through a collective system [1]. Dr. Naing Swe Oo, a member of the Thayninga Institute, said that the post of Chief of Military Security Affairs is a crucial position and General Ye Win Oo was appointed because the Tatmadaw considered him appropriate [2]. According to Major General Zaw Min Tun, commanders of the light infantry and infantry battalions are usually appointed as the Chief of Military Security Affairs [3]. Overall, there is no legal regulation relating to the appointment of top military intelligence personnel.

According to the Constitution, the military can administer and adjudicate its own affairs independently (see Chapter 1, Article 20(b)) [1]. The influence of the military in politics is considerable and 25% of members of Parliament are military personnel (see Chapter 4, Article 74(a) and (b)) [1]. The C-in-C of the Defence Services has the power to nominate the Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs – three key ministries related to security issues (Chapter 5, Article 232 (b(3)) [1]. There is no institution that can influence the decisions or decision-making process of the military according to the Constitution (see Chapter 1, Article 20(b)) [1].

The military intelligence service is under the complete control of the military administration, with no supervision or intervention by the civil authorities. There are intelligence services in the police force, such as the Special Branch, but the police force is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which, again, is controlled by the military.

The C-in-C of the Defence Services appoints the senior officer of the intelligence services. Before candidates are appointed, their background is investigated internally and most senior officers complete intelligence and counterintelligence training. The highest rank is colonel. The Commanders of the Northwest Region and the Yangon Region were senior officers of the intelligence services when they were Lieutenant Colonel [1]. Most military personnel who serve in the intelligence services have opportunities to hold senior positions. For example, the current Vice President U Myint Swe, the former Chief Minister of Mandalay Region, the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force and the current Minister of Home Affairs all served in the intelligence services [2]. There is an internal vetting process but this is based on loyalty rather than suitability.

Recruitment processes for senior positions within the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) are subject to the government General Administrative Service Bureau’s ‘Top Management Group (TMG) vacancy process’ [1]. The TMG vacancy process involves numerous stages, including the establishment of selection criteria, against which candidates are evaluated during the interview, preselection, shortlisting, assessment and selection stages [1]. The General Administrative Service states that candidates are placed according to the profile of the position on the basis of knowledge, experience and competencies [1]. Candidates can only progress to the next stage of the recruitment process if the General Administrative Service Bureau has determined that they meet the set requirements of the role [1]. The current Director General of the AIVD, Erik Akerboom, was appointed in 2020 through the TMG vacancy process [2].

The numerous stakeholders involved in the TMG vacancy process prevent undue influence in the appointment of candidates to top positions in the AIVD and MIVD. The recruitment process is managed by the General Administrative Service Bureau and overseen by the Secretary General and Director General of the General Administrative Service [1]. Following the first interviews, the Director General submits a proposal to the TMG Preselection Committee (VSC), which monitors the objectivity of the preselection phase in accordance with the selection criteria [1]. The VSC is chaired by a professional with extensive management development experience at the top level who is outside of national government [1]. Based on the advice of the VSC, the selection list of one or more candidates is sent to the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations [1]. The ministers involved can only reject a candidate prior to the selection committee and only with reasons. If a minister wishes to reject a candidate, an exploratory meeting between the minister and the candidate must first take place in the presence of the Director General of the General Administrative Service [1].

Numerous vetting procedures accompany the recruitment and appointment process for senior positions within the intelligence services. The General Administrative Service Bureau is external to the intelligence services and leads the recruitment process for top management vacancies [1]. Following the first interviews conducted by the General Administrative Service Bureau selection committee, the TMG Preselection Committee (VSC) determines a selection list though a vetting process and submits advice [2]. The VSC is chaired by a professional with extensive management development experience at the top level who is outside of national government [2]. The General Administrative Service Bureau selection committee can call upon references and interview candidates [2]. Relevant ministers with top security clearance also interview the candidate prior to selection [2]. Before appointment, the Business Unit of the AIVD is responsible for screening and vetting candidates and advising relevant ministers on the viability of shortlisted candidates [3].

Public Service Commission requirements dictate all positions be subject to scrutiny so as to meet objective selection standards [1]. The Public Services Commissioner appoints and employs Public Service Chief Executives for all agencies using a competitive process and all public service Chief Executives have responsibilities under the new Public Service Act 2020 [2, 3]. This results in a slightly different standard of selection for Chief Executives as, despite most public service roles in New Zealand requiring advertisement as part of the recruitment process, the Chief Executive positions (for example, the Director-General in the Intelligence Agencies) are not always subject to the general requirement to advertise, as Public Service Commissioner may recommend reappointment for further terms to the Minister, or appoint an acting chief executive, or recommend to the Minister the transfer of a chief executive to another role, all without first notifying an impending vacancy. [4]. All other positions, including senior positions, are filled following internal policy. This includes ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation, Employment Relations Act, Privacy Act, Human Rights Act and the Public Service Act. The internal policy outlines the following principles: selection of people based on merit through competitive processes; recruitment and selection processes are professional and objective, with selection based on relevant, specific selection criteria; processes and recommendations are documented; adherence to stated values and ensuring the best possible candidate experience recognising that they are representing the organisation, directorate and unit when recruiting.

All recruitment processes are fair and transparent. Recruitment and selection processes are conducted in a timely and efficient manner avoiding undue delays. The workforce is to reflect and understand the communities that they serve and in so doing encourage diversity and inclusion and provide equal employment opportunities [5]. All recruitment and selection activities are conducted with due regard for candidate care (including timely and suitable feedback/communication), privacy, and confidentiality of information. NZSIS and GCSB staff are encouraged to apply and be considered for positions within the agencies, thus supporting retention and career development strategies. All roles will be advertised internally and externally unless the skills, knowledge and experience can only be found internally, in which case the role may only be advertised internally. Applicants are given sufficient information to allow clear and accurate understanding of the role. NZSIS and GCSB staff can seek a review of appointment and there are clear procedures available to support this [6]. The selection process outlined in the internal policy on recruitment includes a written application, structured shortlisting, phone screen (for external applicants only), structured behavioural based interview, preliminary security checks and screening, structured reference checks and other pre-employment checks where required, other evaluative material such as psychometric assessment as required, and other pre-employment checks undertaken where necessary. All NZIC staff must obtain and retain the highest level of security clearance [6].

According to the New Zealand Intelligence Community, the Public Service Commissioner appoints and employs Public Service Chief Executives, for all agencies, using a competitive process. All public service Chief Executives have responsibilities under the new Public Service Act 2020. [1] All other positions, including senior positions, are filled following internal policy. This includes ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation, Employment Relations Act, Privacy Act, Human Rights Act and the Public Service Act. [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] The internal policy outlines the following principles [6, 7]:

• “We recruit the best people for our roles and ensure that they are selected on merit through competitive processes.
• We ensure recruitment and selection processes are professional and objective, with selection based on relevant, specific selection criteria.
• All processes and recommendations are documented
• We will adhere to our values and ensure the best possible candidate experience recognising that we are representing our organisation, directorate and unit when recruiting.
• All recruitment processes are fair and transparent
• Recruitment and selection processes will be conducted in a timely and efficient manner avoiding undue delays
• We want our workforce to reflect and understand the communities that we serve so we encourage diversity and inclusion and provide equal employment opportunities
• All recruitment and selection activities are conducted with due regard for candidate care (including timely and suitable feedback/communication), privacy and confidentiality of information
• NZSIS and GCSB staff are encouraged to apply and be considered for positions within the agencies, thus supporting retention and career development strategies
• All roles will be advertised internally and externally unless the skills, knowledge and experience can only be found internally, in which case the role may only be advertised internally
• Applicants are given sufficient information to allow clear and accurate understanding of the role
• NZSIS and GCSB staff can seek a review of appointment and there are clear procedures available to support this.”[7]

The selection process outlined in the internal policy on recruitment includes a written application, structured shortlisting, phone screen (for external applicants only), structured behavioural based interview, preliminary security checks and screening, structured reference checks and other pre-employment checks where required, other evaluative material such as psychometric assessment as required and other pre-employment checks undertaken where necessary. All NZIC staff must obtain and retain the highest level of security clearance.

According to the IGIS, there are no obvious openings for improper third-party interference in that process. However, at the same time there is no role for the IGIS in contributing to recruitment processes undertaken by the agencies. [8] There is an expectation that if IGIS discovers something nefarious or potentially damaging about an existing employee (for example, if the IGIS had for some reason in the course of an Inquiry examined some aspect of the person’s service), then the IGIS has a duty to inform the Director-General of the respective agency and the Minister. [9]

According to its Annual Report, the NZSIS has “statutory responsibility for administering the national security clearance vetting process” [1]. Depending on the level of security clearance required for a position, the vetting process may take from 61 to 93 working days, although previous years have seen those numbers rise to an average of 157 working days [1, 2]. Importantly, the NZSIS may not grant a security clearance, unless the individual is, or will be, employed by the NZSIS [3]. Depending on the security clearance required, the vetting process involves interviews with referees, financial accounts, travel details, police histories, and any security related information [4]. Despite these measures, an additional comment on the vetting process is required. As the NZSIS executes the vetting function for all government bodies, a theoretical argument could be posited that senior positions within the NZSIS may be compromised because, as both the vetting and the employing agency, it is an insular process. Unless a complaint is made, thus initiating the process for IGIS’s involvement, IGIS would have no reason to initiate an inquiry, or perhaps even know of the situation (see Q21B).

Despite this, the IGIS deems such a scenario as extremely unlikely. The vetting team operates as a specialist team, with a high degree of expertise in the application of the criteria for clearances. It does not have functions in terms of recruitment. The same criteria and processes apply for NZSIS clearance applicants, as for people seeking clearance for work in other Departments. According to the IGIS, candidates can place strong trust in the process, especially since many candidates would have been routinely vetted for their whole Government career. Even at the highest level the appointees cannot clear themselves: The Public Service Commissioner is responsible for the granting of a national security clearance to the Director-General of Security (which means the chief executive of the NZSIS) and separately to the Director-General of the GCSB (which means the chief executive of the GCSB) [5].

The assessor found no evidence of objective selection criteria being employed in the recruitment of senior intelligence posts. It is also worth noting that the intelligence services information is necessarily covert and therefore not easily subject to oversight.

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence. The assessor found no recruitment information for senior intelligence posts.

This indicator has not been assigned a score due to insufficient information or evidence. The assessor found no recruitment information for senior intelligence posts.

TThe selection criteria are objective but also take into account “federal character” which requires that appointment should reflect the six geo-political zones. The “federal character” principle, which has been enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution since 1979, seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country. Application of the principle in the federal civil service and the military has amounted to a confusing balancing of the merit principle and the quota system, based essentially on states of origin. This has had adverse consequences for both institutions in terms of discipline, morale, and overall effectiveness and efficiency. The Constitution provides that …”the government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.” In practice, rather than ensure proper representation, merit is shunned to prioritise the drive for diversity. The Act states that “Part 1 that (1) “Each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory shall be equitably represented in all national institutions and public enterprises and organisations (2). The best and the most competent persons shall be recruited from each state of the federation to fill positions reserved for the indigenes of the FCT.”

Although the National Assembly has a residual power to vet and confirm appointments, this does not constitute an effective check and balance on the exercise of the executive power to appoint (1). Recently, there has been a stalemate between the executive and the legislature over the refusal of the Senate to confirm the head of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Magu. Although the Senate has refused to confirm him, Mr. Magu continues to run the agency in an acting capacity (2). The president appointed the head of the EFCC despite Senate refusal to confirm him. Critics of the Buhari administration say he favours candidates from the north and often fails to assess their incompetence for positions nominated. In the security agencies, there is a preponderance of candidates from the north irrespective of merit. The appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Magu is illustrative of the fact that although the Senate has the power to confirm the nomination, the efficacy of that power is not as effective as an absolute veto which would disqualify a candidate for an appointment. Thus, the refusal to confirm Mr. Ibrahim Magu has created a situation where an unconfirmed candidate continues to hold office at the discretion of the president, despite a court ruling in favour of the Senate (2).

There is considerable security vetting of senior appointments by security agencies. However, defects within the vetting system also exist, which means that bias often supercedes objective selection criteria. The appointment of Mr. Magu is illustrative in this regard as the Department of State Security provided the Senate and the presidency with two conflicting reports on Mr. Magu, one report implicated him in several corruption-related allegations, while another report ostensibly absolved him of any wrongdoing concerning those allegations. As to suitability and prior conduct concerning the security agencies, appointments to these positions such as the position of Director-General of the National Security Agency is appointed solely by the president without Senate confirmation (1), (2), (3).

The criteria for selecting senior staff in the Security and Counter – Intelligence Directorate (SCID) within the Ministry of Interior and the Intelligence Agency (IA) are outlined in relevant laws. Article 24 from the Law on Interior defines the criteria for the selection of the director of the SCID [1] whilst Article 3 of the Law on Intelligence Agency outlines the criteria for the director of this Agency [2]. The legal criteria for the selection of both directors are formally applied but remain somewhat vague. Rather than explicitly seeking qualified professionals with a track-record of success in the field of security and intelligence, these criteria leave room for wider interpretation. For instance, the Law on Interior only asks for five years of work experience rather than specific experience in security and intelligence sectors for the prospective SCID director. A track-record of success in the field of security and defence is also completely absent from the requirements for the Agency director. This opens up potential for political interference and for inadequate candidates for these roles. Article 3 of the Law on the Intelligence Agency merely stipulates that its director be appointed by the President of the Republic for a period of 4 years, without highlighting any specific criteria.
In addition to this, senior staff in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) are appointed by the Minister of Defence and these employees report directly to the Minister [3]. No explicit criteria for selection is underlined in this relevant law.

In September 2019, a new National Security Agency (ANB) was established, to replace the Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate. In contrast to the Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate, the new Agency is an independent state body separate from the MOI, with no police powers. Its status and operations are regulated with the Law on National Security Agency, adopted in May 2019 and its director is now appointed by the Government.

The political influence in the selection process of candidates has been problematic for a while. A 2012 report on the work of the intelligence agencies noted that whenever the government changes and when a new party takes over, most of the senior staff changes, in particular in the Security and Counter – Intelligence Directorate (SCID) which works Ministry of the Interior [1]. Тhe fact that this body’s Director is chosen by the Interior Minister and that the Director subsequently reports to the Minister leaves room for undue political influence. This was particularly visible in the period of 2008 – 2016 and criticised by the European Commission and number of other institutions [2]. Along similar lines, the Director of the Intelligence Agency is chosen by and reports directly to the President of the Republic. Similarly, the Military Intelligence Services Director is appointed by the Minister of Defence and also reports to him.

There is not enough evidence to score this indicator. At the time of research for the GDI, the Security and Counter – Intelligence Directorate (SCID) Director had been elected in June 2017 with a track-record of thorough professional experience in the security and intelligence sector [1]. However, the minutes from the Committee for Supervising the Work of the Security and Counter-Intelligence Directorate and the Intelligence Agency (CSWSCIDIA) since 2018 show no record of a vetting procedure during his appointment [2]. It is therefore unclear whether the Committee has the right to vet procedures for prospective directors of the intelligence sector [3]. In July 2017, the CSWSCIDIA enacted a new Rulebook on Procedures which supposedly addresses these issues of vetting rights [4]. However, the Rulebook is not available on their website nor was there any further information disclosure since the Committee did not respond to meeting with Transparency International. The Directors of SCID asked for closed sessions of the Committee when required [4].

Selection criteria for senior positions within the intelligence services are regulated by the Civil Service Act, the Act on Military Service in the Armed Forces and the accompanying regulations [1, 2, 3, 4]. The same acts apply for the whole defence sector [5]. Generally, all job vacancies have to be advertised for the general public. Job descriptions and selection criteria are available. The media and public at large may request the disclosure of lists of applicants and are as a general rule granted access. A nomination committee, including the immediately superior civil service authority as a member, and consisting of equal representation by ordinary members of staff and by the management, shall make a nomination. The nomination committee shall apply objective selection criteria and unless the law makes an exemption, the most qualified applicant shall be selected. For positions in the Norwegian Intelligence Service applicants need to hold exclusively Norwegian citizenship.

Online searches of media outlets show that there are no indications of undue influence in the selection of candidates for senior positions within the intelligence service. According to one expert, while there may be some leeway for employers to affect the selection process, Norway’s strong regulations mean that undue influence is not of particular concern to the intelligence services. [1]

Vetting of candidates for senior positions within the Norwegian Intelligence Service is regulated by the Regulation on security clearance [1]. Investigation of the candidates is normally conducted not by external party, but by the hiring panel appointed by the Norwegian Intelligence Service itself [2]. The hiring panel may ask the National Security Authority for information from all available national registers and databases (police, security, tax, debt etc.). For most positions it is necessary to be eligible for top secret clearance (clearance of the candidate and the closest family).

The most recent appointments of senior staff for the intelligence services were declared in Royal Decree 34/2013. It was published in the Muscat Daily: “Article one: Promotes Major General Said bin Ali bin Zahir al Hilali to the rank of Lieutenant General and appoints him as Head of the Internal Security Service with the rank of a minister. Article two: Promotes Brig Ghusn bin Hilal bin Khalifa al Alawi to the rank of Major General and appoints him as Assistant Head of the Internal Security Service for Operations” (1). Military promotions and appointments are announced through royal decrees (1). There is no information is available on selection criteria or roles in the service because the Internal Security Service website does not work (2). There any no references to selection criteria for senior positions in the Internal Security Services in the Omani media either. No criteria were found for the selection of senior positions; however, it seems the decisions were taken by the Sultan as the Internal Security Service falls under his Royal Office.

As previously established, the last appointment of senior staff for the Omani Intelligence services was declared through a royal decree (1). The centralised power of the sultan in Oman undermines an unbiased selection process (2). Academic Richard Common writes, “Tribal and familial interdependence remains deeply rooted and this extends into organisations, both public and private” (2). Selection bias is widespread, due to the sultan’s leadership.

There is no transparency around the selection process concerning the appointees of senior intelligence positions, as demonstrated in the above two sub-indicators. In the most recent appointment in 2013, no vetting process was mentioned. In Royal Decree 34/2013, both senior positions were given to members of the Omani Armed Forces (1). As discussed in sub-indicators 2 and 10, the lack of oversight in the security and defence sectors by the al-Shura Council, the State Audit Institute, the media, or civil society make it difficult to discern if there are vetting systems in place to investigate and scrutinise prior conduct of new appointees (2).

The criteria of the selections of the in senior positions of the intelligence are not clear. Nepotism plays a role in the selection process. All senior positions are selected based on their affiliation and being faithful to the head of the agency and the Fatah party (1).

All senior positions are selected based on their affiliation and being faithful to the head of the agency, the executive (Abbas) and the Fatah party. This means many of these positions are gifts to loyal employees (1).

As senior positions are given based on nepotism and not meritocratic values, there is no oversight or any investigation on appointing senior or non-senior positions to confirm suitability for the job (1). However, all other jobs must go through a security check called “Salamah Al Amniya” which seeks to ascertain that the person applying is not an Islamist or that they oppose the PA (2).

Military officers appointed to senior intelligence services should be clear of human rights violations and are subject to investigation of their suitability for the position [1]. However, as these positions are presidential appointees [2], selection criteria are not always established and objective. Political patronage is a strong factor in these appointments. President Duterte believes that military officers will be more effective administrators and less prone to corruption than civilians [3]. In his fourth State of the National Address, President Duterte admitted that he regularly chooses military men to lead government agencies because they follow orders [4]. While the appointees have had experience serving in the intelligence service, there is no established selection criteria [5].

While the AFP Board of Generals pays particular attention to background and experience (e.g. schooling, operation achievements) of the names it recommends to the President for senior intelligence positions, the appointing power lies with the executive [1, 2]. In July 2020, President Duterte appointed the former head of his security team as chief of the military’s intelligence arm and later confirmed by the Commission on Appointments [2,3]. In his fourth State of the National Address, President Duterte admitted that he has regularly chooses military men to lead government agencies because they follow orders [4].

The vetting process is done internally by the Board of Generals then endorsed by the Defense Secretary before submitting to the President for approval. The investigation is based on the merit point system, professionalism, and service reputation closely monitored by the J1 (Personnel), where they file information on schooling and operation achievements, among others [1]. Likewise, background checks are conducted on potential appointees, but ultimately, the final decision lies on the executive. The current intelligence chief was the former head of the Presidential Security Group [2], while two former intelligence chiefs served as commanders of Task Force Davao, where Duterte served as mayor for two decades [3]. However, part of the investigation process is questionable as no external party is involved. In January 2021, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Major General Alex Luna who only served for three months, was fired by the Defense Secretary for irresponsible posting in social media [4].

The laws on Military Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Services and their personnel [1, 2] layout the procedures, defining the criteria and qualifications, for appointments to posts within the secret services. However, they are not respected; it is widely believed that recruitment, particularly for the senior positions, is linked mainly to political criteria.

Media commentators point out that in practice, the nomination of senior positions is a political act, with the government usually attempting to bring intelligence services under its political control. An example is the dismissal of the head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau who took office during the previous government’s term of office. His right to access top-secret information was revoked, which forced him to resign. This situation was criticized by the media and non-governmental organizations [1, 2]. The head of the Internal Security Agency, appointed after elections in 2015, was a member of the Program Council of the winning party and a candidate in parliamentary elections in 2011 [3].

Investigation of top candidates’ suitability is questionable, since any doubts may not be thoroughly explained. It seems that during the recruitment procedure, political links and connections are more important than substantive qualifications. This is not always the case, however, as exemplified by the appointment of the head of the Military Counterintelligence Service in January 2018, a person who was met with positivity by the opposition [1,2].

Senior positions within the intelligence services include the secretary-general of the Portuguese Republic Intelligence System (PRIS) [1] and the directors-generals of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) [1], and the Strategic Defence Intelligence Service (SDIS) [1]. Existing legislation stipulates selection criteria, but these are vague except for a higher education degree requirement [2]. Based on recently selected individuals, high-level service (e.g. in the diplomatic corps) [3] seems to be an informal requirement.

Individuals designated by the prime minister to the positions of Secretary-General of PRIS, SIS and SDIS are generally associated with connections to the ruling party, and there is some evidence that senior positions, including that of the chair of the Oversight Committee, are disputed between the two largest parties in Parliament [1, 2, 3]. A recent news piece suggests competition between third parties to influence the nomination to SIS directorship [4].

Vetting involves a closed-door hearing at Parliament [1], but there is no legally mandated procedure, no formally established hiring panel with security clearance requirement and no formal requirement to call witnesses or perform background checks. A recent controversy on the designation of a diplomat as the secretary-general of PRIS, who voluntarily abandoned the process, suggests less than adequate vetting [2], but Parliament responded accordingly by requesting follow-up information from the Foreign Affairs Department [3]. The recent confirmation of a prison sentence to a former SDIS director [4] and allegations of third-party affiliations by an SIS director [5] are additional evidence points of less than adequate vetting.

The selection criteria for senior positions is unclear in Qatar. Senior positions within defence are appointed by an Emiri Decree. The appointments of senior positions take into consideration two main criteria: loyalty to the Emir and member of a loyal tribe. Therefore, meritocracy is absent to some degree [1,2].

Senior positions in the intelligence services seem to be primarily a gift of the executive [1,2]. Senior positions within defence and intelligence take place through appointments by Emiri decrees. Whilst it is not clear whether these appointments are a gift per se, they are considered impartial. The internal security of Qatar is a sensitive agency and therefore, its leaders must be loyal to the Emir and also from a tribal background.

According to senior officers, a vetting process does exist. However, the criteria for proposing an officer, or offering a promotion, are primarily based on loyalty to the Emir, and membership of a tribe. The most sensitive positions go to those from the biggest tribes. Less important positions can be used to buy loyalty [1,2].

The criteria for the selection of senior positions are unclear. The federal law ‘On Foreign Intelligence’ provides no specific requirements for the candidates. Article 16 of the federal law ‘On Federal Security Service’ only stipulates general provisions for personnel selection, such as Russian citizenship, higher education, good health condition, etc. [1]. Comment: Interviewee 1 could not provide any details about selection criteria for senior intelligence positions [2].

Article 12 of the federal law ‘On Foreign Intelligence’ states that the director of the Foreign Intelligence Office is appointed by the president’s decree [1]. The current director – Sergey Naryshkin – has known and worked with Putin for a long time [2]. He graduated from a two-year training course at the higher school of KGB, where he first met Putin [3]. In 1992, within the Saint Petersburg city administration, Naryshkin headed up the International Liason unit at the Economics and Finance Committee, which was managed by Putin [4]. In 2004, he was appointed as a government chief of staff [2].

The Federal Security Service head is also appointed by the president.
The Chief Directorate (GU, formerly GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces – a foreign intelligence agency – is currently headed up by an admiral who served in the GU and demonstrated not only loyalty to the regime but also competence [5]. His predecessor was also a career military intel officer with extensive field experience [6]. There are no apparent connections with the executive branch.

The federal law ‘On Public Civil Service’ stipulates that civil servants are appointed on a competitive basis according to their professional qualities [1]. There is no information or provision for vetting of a candidate. For a number of positions, candidates are exempt from any competitive selection and subject to direct appointment by the president. In that case no information about selection process, much less about vetting, is disclosed to the public. Among these positions are the heads of the Federal Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Office [1].

According to our sources, the selection criteria is not clear and there are no documents that spell out what criteria a senior intelligence officer should have before their appointment (1), (2). These appointments are often made by royal decree (3), (4), and there is no reference to the pre-appointment selection process, nor any method available to scrutinize how these decisions are made. In almost all cases, loyalty to the crown prince is the main criteria for getting a position (1), (2).

According to a Gulf affairs expert:

“Senior intelligence positions are not filled on the basis of objective selection criteria. The process is more applicable for more junior positions within the services, but sensitivities on conducting investigations of senior officers prevent the practice of extensive due diligence. There is an objective selection criterion on paper and it has been informed by other intelligence agencies (external), but it rarely informs decisions of senior appointments” (5).

According to our sources, almost all senior positions within the intelligence agency are a gift for loyalists and other tribes that have connections to the crown prince himself. In the past, appointments to senior positions in the defence establishment and the wider government were made based on seniority within the ruling family to balance power between the various (main) branches of the family. This practice has continued to some extent under King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for example through appointing a range of young princes, mostly grandsons or great-grandsons of the founding king of Saudi Arabia, to government senior positions (1). Nevertheless, they have also increasingly centralized power in all areas, including in the defence sector, where Mohammed bin Salman serves as Minister of Defence (2). A recent overhaul of the security services in the country saw the creation of the Presidency for State Security, a new security agency that incorporates domestic intelligence services and that is strongly tied to the office of the king, further centralizing power in the intelligence services (3).

Further, patterns of government appointments indicate that King Salman, in coordination with the Crown Prince, is appointing close and loyal allies within the family to senior positions (4), (5). This includes appointments in the country’s intelligence services. Notably, in April 2017, the King named Ahmed al-Asiri, a major general and an adviser to the Saudi MoD, as deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s primary intelligence agency (6). While the basis for his selection criteria is impossible to ascertain, al-Asiri is reportedly a close ally of the King and Crown Prince (5).

As mentioned above, most of the appointments are based on having a close relation to the crown prince and loyalty. Therefore, there is no vetting process beforehand. The government does not disclose any information about the pre-appointment processes for intelligence positions nor any other government position.

The SIA Director is appointed and recalled by the government. The Law on SIA does not provide any criteria the government should be led by when filling this position. [1] The most recent amendments to this law, adopted in May 2018, failed to precisely define conditions to be met by a person who can be appointed as the SIA Director. Details on the procedures and conditions for dismissal of the director, as well as the mandated length or possibility of reappointment are left out. Finally, the law does not include the way of appointing or recalling the director’s deputy.
When it comes to military services, the selection of directors and their deputies is more precisely determined. Namely, it states that to be eligible for the position of the MSA or MIA Director, a person must complete the General Staff Advanced Training and have at least nine years of experience in intelligence and security matters within the defence system. When compared to the Law on SIA, this solution offers more precise selection criteria; however, the very broad conditions, requiring professional experience in the field, leaves space for different interpretations.
Bylaws which further regulate systematization of appointments and workplaces within the security services are confidential, thus, it is not known whether they contain more detailed provisions on the selection process.

Besides omitting precise criteria for security agencies’ chiefs selection, the legal framework also fails to envisage external oversight over the process. Hence, the executive does not have the obligation to consult the parliamentary committee in charge of security services control before appointing the directors. The government is only obliged to obtain the opinion of the National Security Council, a body also consisting of executive representatives [1, 2].
Filling in the senior positions in the civilian security agency is completely in the hands of the executive and thus, opens up the room to excessive political influence. When it comes to military agencies, the legally prescribed conditions do decrease the possibility for political interference or ending up with incompetent people in senior positions. The incumbent MIA Director has, after obtaining necessary education and training, built his career at the MIA. On the other hand, the background of appointing the current MSA Director was discussed in the public and taken with suspicion due to his career path and the sudden recall of his predecessor. Namely, he has spent most of its career within the Military Police, so his chief position in the military security service caused questions and suspicion on the motives behind the appointment [3].

Candidates for senior positions within security services have to pass a general security check conducted by the SIA or MSA, as all the employees at the agencies [1, 2]. Other than gaining the security clearance, the candidates are not subject to any thorough external vetting process.

In accordance with Article 100 of the Constitution, the recruitment and promotion of public officers are explicitly premised on formal qualifications, experience and merit [1]. According to the Constitution, all public officers are appointed or confirmed through the Public Service Commission or by personnel boards [2]. It can be inferred that the appointments of the Internal Security Department (ISD) and Signals and Intelligence Division (SID) officers are not exempt from this rule. Overall, formal procedures exist, and there is evidence that appointees are suitable for the roles with long experience in the civil service and/or the military. Nevertheless, there is no transparency regarding their selection and no information provided on potential candidates [3].

Meritocracy is widely seen as Singapore’s main principle of governance, with most (if not all) aspects of formal education and government/armed forces careers based on this imperative that values ability over all else [1, 2]. However, while it is accepted that there is likely no overt influence by third parties in the selection, there is some belief that persons related or closely linked to the ruling party may have been unduly advantaged as a result of their association although this has never been substantiated – nevertheless, there is an undercurrent of suspicion among the general populace about such practices [3, 4].

There is not enough information for scoring this indicator.

There is no evidence to suggest that external parties are consulted in the vetting process, and there is no public information available on the recruitment processes of intelligence officers. However, some details of the government’s recruiting processes for personnel have been detailed in an interview with a former top intelligence officer, which suggests that there are multiple levels of appraisals for potential recruits – both formal and informal [1]. The civil service also maintains a robust recruitment system with multiple levels of interviews, on-the-job previews, and other forms of assessment that should result in suitably qualified candidates in theory [2].

The Intelligence Services Regulations are found in section 37 of the Intelligence Services Act and stipulate that all agency positions must be advertised and competitively filled; that selection must be transparent, that certain posts may be temporarily appointed by the minister of state security or director-general of state security [1]. It is unclear whether this process is consistently applied.

The High Level Review Panel Report on the State Security Agency identified substantial politicisation of the intelligence services. Importantly, the review panel highlighted that the president and state security minister has the power to appoint the director-general and deputy directors-general – noting that a history of the deployment of people loyal to the president and state security minister, leading to a system of political patronage that was identified as damaging to the heavily politicised SSA [1].

Details on vetting processes are not publicly available. It is, however, apparent in the findings of the High Level Review Panel, that the politicisation and dysfunctionality of the intelligence services have compromised what vetting processes are in place.

An electronic vetting system was proposed in the early 2000s, to assist in automated bulk vetting by cross-checking against Home Affairs records, police records, credit histories among others. The Review Panel found that, after around 15 years, the system was not yet operational [1]. “The Panel was informed that the former SASS, when given the mandate to conduct its own internal vetting, had introduced a vetting panel that had collectively assessed the results of a vetting process. It seems that this practice was not carried over into SSA, leaving decisions to individuals and their chain of command” [2].

The director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is appointed by the President under the terms of the National Intelligence Service Act. [1] The appointment is made with the agreement by the National Assembly through the personnel hearing. The hearing is a screening system at the parliamentary level, and lawmakers appointed by each party examine and investigate the candidate’s ability and whether he or she can fulfil the role. [2] During the hearing, lawmakers question the NIS nominee about integrity, political neutrality and other policy issues. [3] However, the details of the selection criteria are not specified in the law, indicating the lack of objective criteria.

As mentioned above, the director of the NIS is appointed by the President without objective selection criteria [1]. The interview with senior staff from the Intelligence Committee at the National Assembly reveals that the selection is not impartial, and candidates are likely to politically affiliated with the ruling party [2]. In South Korea, the political involvement of the director is prohibited by law [1]. Media reports show that the current director of the NIS encountered criticism after having a personal meeting with the head of the policy think tank organisation established by the ruling party [3].

The personnel hearing conducted by the National Assembly is a process through which the candidates’ suitability is screened publicly. No vote is required to agree with the appointment during the hearing. [1] The personnel hearing committee should complete a hearing within 15 days from the date that a bill is referred to the parliament. The candidate should attend the meeting and answer questions raised by the committee’s members, and the committee also summons relevant witnesses. If the parliament fails to complete the vetting process with the designated time, the President can approve the appointment without the parliament’s consent [1].
The vettiing process focuses on investigating the candidate’s suitability, such as his (her) views on North Korea, some questionable issues he (she) may have been engaged in, the extent of his (her) political neutrality, etc. In the most recently held hearing, the opposition party tried to call witnesses and demanded related information.[2]
It is questionable whether the hearing is effective in evaluating; capacities to serve the role with the objective criteria. One defence expert says that the hearing has been used politically by opposition parties rather than to thoroughly examine candidates’ suitability. [3]

The NSS is headed by two director generals: Akol Koor of the Internal Security Bureau and Thomas Duoth of the External Security Bureau. According to the Constitution, which does not spell out selection creteria, the President is supposed to appoint the two director generals after receiving advice on the matter from the Minister of National Security. [1] Nominees for the position are then supposed to be confirmed by the National Security Council, whose members are ministers in the cabinet and appointed by the President. [2] But both men were godfathered into their positions before the independence. [3] Inherent in this arrangement is the fact that objective selection based on suitability and examination of prior records may be compromised.

Impartiality may be an issue because the members of the National Security Council, who are all appointees of the President, can not be expected to vote against the President’s choice. [1] The absence of the National Legislative Assembly in confirming the heads of the two bureaus of the NSS is problematic because it denies the opportunity for public scrutiny of the credentials and abilities of the appointees. [2]

There is little evidence to show that the appointment of the heads of the NSS bureau was subject to vetting. Both men were godfathered into their positions immediately when South Sudan became independent. [1] Prior to that they were based in the pre-independence intelligence organ called the Special Branch based in the Office of the President of Southern Sudan. The Constitution, which outlined the appointment process, was passed two days before the formal declaration of independence on July 7, 2011 [2] and before the cabinet was unveiled. It is therefore inconceivable that they were vetted when the country became independent.

The structure of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) is defined by RD 436/2002 [1] and modified by RD 240/2013. Article 7 defines the participation in selective processes, but Article 11 indicates all kinds of procedures to ensure the objectivity and rationality of the selection process of this institution, stating that the CNI director is at the same level as the Secretary of State, and is appointed directly, the same as the Secretary-General, with the status of sub-secretary [2]. CNI’s admission procedure to the centre is a note referring to senior positions [3].

The three main directors (the same level as a general director) must be people with recognised experience and professional competence in the field of intelligence, as stated in the first final provision of Royal Decree 240/2013, which approves the Staff Regulations of the National Intelligence Centre [2].

The secretary of state director of the National Intelligence Centre is appointed by a Royal Decree at the proposal of the Minister of Defence. The mandate is for five years, without prejudice to give power to the Council of Ministers to proceed to replace him at any time [1].

Technical directors, who are the rank of general-director, are appointed by the secretary of state director of the CNI, in accordance with the provisions of Article 9.2.a) of Law 11/2002, with specific attention to the singularities and nature of the functions to be performed by them [2].

Recently, a new CNI director was appointed, nominated by the Minister of Defence Margarita Robles, after deliberation of the Council of Ministers, there is no evidence that the new director was selected through objective criteria, rather it was political [3], which is a common practice in this case. She was one of the known candidates in advance and the decision was made public by the press [4, 5].

There is no information available nor evidence of a vetting process in the selection of candidates to senior positions in intelligence services, neither on security aspects, nor with regard to an external hiring board to veto candidates. However, a discreet debate exists in the mass media about the suitability of candidates. Article 2 of Law 3/2015 determines that the appointment of senior positions is made between suitable persons and in accordance with the provisions of their specific legislation [1]. It adds that suitable candidates are those who have good reputations and adequate training and experience in the matter. The suitability of the candidate will be known by those who propose and appoint individuals to senior positions. In the evaluation of the training, the academic knowledge acquired by the candidate is in theory taken into account and in the evaluation of the experience, special attention will be paid to the nature, complexity, and level of responsibility of the positions held. These are related to the content and functions of the position for which the candidate is appointed [1]. In the case of the last CNI director, little information is available on the CNI website [2] and even in the press about the director’s background [3, 4].

The National Security Act of 2010 states that appointees to the National Security Services must be Sudanese by birth, ‘be fully eligible’, ‘be known for his/her integrity, honesty, good conduct and reputation’, have no criminal convictions for dishonesty or turpitude and meet medical and educational requirements [1]. No evidence could be found of any validation of the above criteria being routinely or ever carried out during the recruitment of NISS personnel. In reality, during President Bashir’s rule, senior NISS positions were filled as desired by President Bashir to serve his political objectives. Everything about the NISS was highly secretive by design, such that Sudanese citizens and visitors alike could never be sure who was watching them and how they were being observed. It was widely feared as an instrument of intimidation and retaliation that repressed criticism of and opposition to Bashir’s regime. Given its function, the selection of senior NISS personnel was based on perceived or demonstrated loyalty to Bashir, the National Congress Party (NCP) and NISS leadership [2]. The criteria for validating loyalty probably varied and was anecdotal rather than standardised.

The transitional government dissolved the NISS and reconstituted the General Intelligence Services (GIS) [2], but it is still unclear how people are selected to serve in senior positions there. It is likely that the head of the Sovereignty Council and his deputy personally make and/or approve appointments to these positions based on their own preferred criteria, including perceived loyalty. It also seems likely that both the RSF, which the deputy head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council directly commands, as well as other formerly independent militarised forces party to the transitional government, separately employ intelligence resources and operations that still report to a chain of command that does not answer to the SAF or the Sovereignty Council. During an interview, an expert on Sudan’s defence sector said that when the NISS was dissolved, many of the individuals in its operations branch simply took their weapons and joined the RSF [2].

Two experts on Sudan’s security sector confirmed that, during President Bashir’s rule, senior NISS positions were likely filled as desired by President Bashir to serve his political objectives. The selection of senior NISS personnel was based first and foremost on perceived or demonstrated loyalty to Bashir and the National Congress Party [1,2]. The transitional government dissolved the NISS and reconstituted the General Intelligence Services (GIS) under the SAF, but it is still unclear how people are selected to serve in senior positions there. It is likely that the head of the Sovereignty Council and his deputy personally make and/or approve appointments to these positions based on their own criteria, including perceived loyalty. It also seems likely that both the RSF, which the deputy of the Sovereignty Council directly commands, as well as other formerly independent militarised forces that are aligned with the transitional government, separately employ intelligence resources and operations that they vet according to their own criteria – again, loyalty is likely to trump all other factors.

The National Security Act of 2010 states that appointees to the National Security Services must be Sudanese by birth, ‘be fully eligible’, ‘be known for his/her integrity, honesty, good conduct and reputation’, have no criminal convictions for dishonesty or turpitude and meet medical and educational requirements [1]. No evidence could be found of any validation of the above criteria being routinely or ever carried out during the recruitment of NISS personnel. Given that the NISS was used by the President as a tool for intimidation and retaliation rather than as an objective investigation and intelligence-gathering service, willingness to act with loyalty to the regime, rather than with adherence to ethical conduct standards, was paramount. Therefore, it is fair to say that any vetting or review of an individual’s suitability for a senior position in the NISS would seek evidence that the individual is willing to discard ethical standards of conduct to do the bidding of the regime, whether it is considered ethical or unethical by international standards.

The selection processes for intelligence personnel operating within or in parallel to paramilitary units and militia throughout Sudan are likely to be based on similar loyalty criteria, but serving different masters (the political leaders and/or military commanders that pay or reward them). It is likely that these intelligence functions are highly informal and compartmentalised by the leaders that they serve. Sudan’s transitional government dissolved the NISS and replaced it with the General Intelligence Services (GIS), which was briefly relieved of its domestic intelligence duties, but according to an expert on Sudan’s defence and security sector, these duties were reinstated after an apparent failed assassination attempt against the transitional Prime Minister in early 2020 [2]. So far, no evidence could be found indicating that the selection process for the GIS is standardised or involves the investigation of individuals’ ethical conduct, other than ensuring that senior GIS officials are not loyal to Bashir and the NCP.

Appointment power is exercised by the government in accordance with the constitution [1] and the appointment policy [2]. The law includes clear and objective criteria for who may be appointed and how the process should be conducted. Whereas most senior positions within the agency system are openly advertised, the chiefs of the armed forces and security and intelligence services are not identified through an open competition but recruited internally from a limited circle. This circle is overseen by the government, and potential candidates must meet a specific ‘profile’ decided by the government, including ‘specific criteria based on the agency’s requirements [and] general critiera such as documented leadership abilities and good communication skills’ [2]. Practical details of the appointment process, such as interviews, vetting, and negotiations with candidates, are then handled by representatives from the ministry of defence [2].

The appointment system has been criticised for lack of impartiality, as many agency directors have had clear links to the ruling party [1]. Political scientists have further warned against the ‘politicisation’ of the appointment system, as this might threaten democracy from a long-term perspective [2].

Whereas most senior positions within the agency system are openly advertised, the chiefs of the police, security services, and armed forces are not identified through an open competition but recruited internally from a limited circle. In accordance with the government’s Appointment Policy [1], this circle is overseen by the government, not an external party or hiring panel. The appointment of intelligence directors, for instance, is a highly sensitive matter so it is therefore natural that the vetting and selection process is not fully transparent to the public.

The head of the intelligence service is appointed by the Federal Council. The identity and the background of the director are known and announced at the time of the appointment [1]. Positions are generally advertised on the job portal of the confederation. This includes the job profile [2]. Initially triggered by a problematic appointment with the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), in 2013 a report of the Control Committee of the National Council reviewed the nomination, and appointment process for senior positions and the progress made [3]. It issued another progress report in view of the 2013 document in 2019 [4]. The report finds progress, as almost all positions are now publicly advertised and exceptions are rare, there are search committees established, and assessments conducted. There are also still some unresolved issues, for example, related to the justification on the final decision that should be provided to the Federal Council. The committee was generally satisfied but sees still room for improvement and plans a final follow up in 2021 [4].

A problematic appointment at the DDPS triggered the parliamentary oversight, and in 2013 a report of the Control Committee of the National Council reviewed the nomination and appointment process for senior positions and the progress made [1]. It issued another progress report in view of the 2013 document in 2019. The report, reviewed the implementation of the 2013 recommendations and found considerable progress. Many of the measures that have been or are being implemented concern the removal of bias, and the improvement of transparency: Predefined procedures, objective criteria, transparency in the process and justification of decisions [2]. However, the appointment of senior positions if done by the Federal Council and like every appointment at such a high level it inevitably has a political dimension.

The hiring procedures are supposed to include a search committee that proceeds transparently; the job needs to be publicly advertised. The 2013 report by the Control Committee of the National Council requested the standardization of hiring procedures across departments and clearly stated that hiring by a single person is not acceptable [1]. It also criticized the extended vetting process conducted for security reasons, and that it is required for these positions, often only happened after the hiring of the senior employees, in some cases even without the equally required personal interview, and a 2019 report found that this is resolved now. The Control Committee is mandated to review the process and hiring decisions (Article 52 ParlA) [3].

The Director General of the National Security Bureau is either required to be a three-star general or admiral or a political appointee. Candidates for this position are proposed by the Director General of the National Security Council and the final decision is made by the President [1]. The Director General of the Military Intelligence Bureau or of the Communication Development Office are from the rank of two-star general or admiral. The commander of the Military Security Brigade is from the rank of one-star general or admiral. All of these posts are assigned by the Minister of National Defence [2, 3]. There are objective selection criteria illustrated by both organisations’ laws; however, it is unclear whether they are applied by the President or by the Minister of National Defence.

The are general selection criteria for appointing military officers. However, the specific selection criteria for promoting and appointing intelligence officers is subject to preferences and determinations by the President or the Minister of National Defence [1]. Impartiality, because of links to the ruling party, is often an issue for appointments or promotions of senior military personnel [2, 3].

The vetting process is initiated according to two articles stipulated in the “National Defence Act”. Article 32 states that any personnel involved in national defence and security affairs shall be legally investigated, and Article 28 requires intelligence personnel shall to undergo security investigation before the assignment. [1]
In addition, the MND enacted the “Regulations of Personnel Security Investigation for Participants in the National Defence Security Program” to ensure that military units provide the Defence Security Division with all relevant information regarding newly recruited employees and provides any items that are required for due diligence. [2]

Intelligence personnel shall pass the security investigation before the assignment regulated in article 28 of the “National Intelligence Service Law”. [3]
According to the “Regulations of the National Intelligence Personnel security investigation”, vetting process is well regulated. Objectives and items of security investigation are stated clearly. The Defence Security Division may request any assistance from non-subordinate institutions and request the person to present his/her own statement about the investigation affairs. It may also request the person to provide related documents, information or articles. The investigation report must be delivered back to the original issued department in written format. The security investigation data shall follow military personnel’s post. [4]

The external investigation includes nationality, criminal case information, tax, credit record, deposit, debt and medical treatment. The intelligence services gather the information from the relevant external agencies (household registration authority, judiciary, tax authority, credit information centre, financial institutions, and medical institutions) and ask related people to offer other information. Candidates cannot receive training or get the appointment, if they fail the investigation. The director-general of the National Security Bureau, Mr. Qiu, asserted the importance of the security investigation.[5]

The President appoints the Director-General of Intelligence and Security in line with the existing legal framework [1]. The criteria as well as information as to how other senior positions within the intelligence services are filled is not known. Detailed information on selection procedures is classified. [1]

There is not enough information to score this indicator. The public is not informed, though according to the law, senior positions intelligence services are presidential appointees based on the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service Act part III, section 1, [1] and detailed information on selection procedures is classified.

There is not enough information to score this indicator. The public is not informed, though according to the law, senior positions intelligence services are presidential appointees based on the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service Act part III, section 1 and 2, [1] and detailed information on selection procedures or any possible vetting is classified.

According to the National Intelligence Act B.E. 2562 (2019), Section 10, for the purpose of improving the efficiency of National Intelligence Agency operations, civil servants appointed to posts in the National Intelligence Agency by the director must have knowledge, ability and work experience in intelligence operation, counter-intelligence operations, communications intelligence operations and civilian security, in accordance with the rules set by the director, in order to be Intelligence Specialists performing duties in intelligence operations of the National Intelligence Agency. However, the Act does not specify how the director is selected and appointed [1]. In 2019, the current director of the National Intelligence Agency was appointed by the Cabinet following the retirement of the former director [2]. According to one interviewee, a political scientist, political (non-professional) considerations are important factors for deciding which persons are chosen to fill specific posts [3].

Ever since the 2014 military coup and even after the 2019 general election, the National Intelligence Agency has been predominantly under the command of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha [1]. Under Prayut’s rule, the National Intelligence Act of 2019 was passed, repealing the previous version of 1985 and giving new and broader power and authority to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The new law now defines intelligence as seeking intelligence on any individual, group of people or organisation, either domestically or overseas, that is regarded as a threat to national security. The 1985 version was only aimed at foreigners and terrorist organisations [2]. It should be noted that, in addition to his role as prime minister, Prayut Chano-cha also commands the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency, the National Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and the Office of the Attorney General, amongst other security and law and order portfolios [3]. Therefore, it is highly suspicious that he would interfere with the appointments, since he also handpicked nearly all of the senators, including his brother, while serving as the prime minister both under the junta regime and the current government [4].

Moreover, under his regime, Thammanat Prompao, a minister who spent four years in a Sydney jail in the 1990s after pleading guilty to conspiring to import more than three kilograms of heroin, was able keep his job as a cabinet minister after a week-long parliamentary debate, showing that facts are meaningless and legitimacy is irrelevant under Prayut’s rule [5]. According to Interviewee 1, a political scientist, after the 2006 coup against Thaksin Shinawatra, the senior brass in the military purged intelligence officials considered to be pro-Thaksin and replaced them with those considered to be more loyal to anti-Thaksin military officials in the 2006-2008 junta. The same thing happened after the 2014 coup [6]. Moreover, the appointment of senior positions in the military, including intelligence services, is normally controlled by the military rather than civilian executives. Civilian control over this area is highly limited [7].

As noted above, the National Intelligence Act B.E. 2562 (2019) does not specify how the agency director is selected and appointed, which means that individual candidates are subject to little or no investigation regarding their suitability or prior conduct [1]. Moreover, due to the fact that the current government is led by General Prayut, or in other words, the military, it is unlikely that any investigation of the NIA director’s suitability is effective (as evident in cases of the senators and the Thammanat scandal) [2,3].

According to our sources, there are no clear criteria for the appointment of senior positions within the intelligence services. The appointment of senior positions is based on connections with the executive (1,2). Additionally, in the absence of a sound legal framework, any official communication about intelligence services, and media reports which discussed the filling of senior positions within intelligence units, we conclude that criteria for selection of senior positions are unclear (3).

According to our sources, the appointment of a senior position is based on two main factors: professional criteria and loyalty to the executives. The sources confirm that the intelligence positions are not gifts but promotions. In some cases it can be a gift but not for senior positions as they could attract the attention of the public and opposition in Parliament(1,2).

According to our sources, there is a committee usually formed by the President and the Prime Minister to nominate a few people for appointment at the head of the agency, and there is a committee within the intelligence services that propose senior positions, however, it is unclear what the main criteria and the procedures of selection are, which make the quality of selections low and ambiguous (1,2). Therefore, there is a vetting process but it is ambiguous and of low quality.

With Presidential Decree No. 694 [1], passed in August 2017, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), which had formerly been an undersecretariat attached to the Prime Ministry, became attached to the presidency, giving the presidential office absolute power over the MİT’s entire gamut of administration and operations. Senior positions in the intelligence services are primarily a gift of the executive branch and it is said that President Erdogan’s palace has been fully controlling the appointments of the senior positions [2].

Law 2937, which regulates the tasks, responsibilities and selection criteria of MİT personnel is the primary piece of legislation defining/describing the intelligence sector in Turkey [3]. Articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 of this law regulate the selection, appointment and promotion processes within the agency. Article 11 suggests that MİT personnel should be selected and promoted within a fully meritocratic process [3].

The commercials and advertisements published on newspaper and online media outlets to promote applications for the MİT show that the MİT is lacking qualified personnel. These advertisements also include the selection criteria [4].

It should be noted that, particuarly after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, almost one third of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) personnel have been purged [1]. There are some allegations that the presidential palace has been coordinating/controlling appointments [2]. However, Interviewee 5 mentioned that, despite Erdogan’s attempts to deeply penetrate the MİT, the intelligence service seeks to keep its established meritocratic promotion standards [3]. According to him, despite the attempts of President Erdogan and his son-in-law, Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak, to increase their influence within the agency, the MİT’s traditional meritocratic processes are still determinative in appointments for high-profile positions [3].

Open-source research indicates that retired MİT personnel have also emphasised this issue following the transformation of the MIT [4]. In one report, former Deputy Director of the MİT Cevat Ones underlines that the MİT’s meritocratic selection/promotion processes should be maintained and that politicisation should not be allowed within the agency [5].

The assessor could not find any reliable information to further elucidate this question. According to an open-source report, in August 2018, a change was made in the regulations for security investigation and archive searches. Security investigations and archive searches regarding top managers of strategically important institutions and organisations that directly affect national security, or regarding the personnel involved in the projects carried out through the latter, are conducted by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) or the General Directorate of Security (EGM) upon the written approval of the relevant person. The archive search will be completed within 30 working days at the latest from receipt of the request to the relevant authority, and the security investigation will be completed within 60 working days at the latest [1].

Allthough it is presumed that vetting investigation or research results would be stored, there is no available data on the vetting process for senior positions in the MİT. It should be noted that currently, the MİT is under full presidential control and is not transparent. So, the proposed appointees are not subject to any scrutiny by parliament or a relevant committee [1]. As such, one may conclude that some vetting does exist within some clearly defined parameters. However, for senior positions it is much less certain and political factors play an outsized role.

There are objective selection criteria, based on the UPDF Act(2005) which spells out how one can be selected for any assignments but it is unclear if they are applied. This is mainly because President Museveni invokes his influence in the selection and promotion of soldiers for any role, including intelligence services. For, instance, during the ruling party retreat at National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi, Museveni promoted Jessica Alupo, then Education Minister to the rank of major. Museveni’s decision to promote Alupo, who retired from the army in the early 2000s, followed his realisation that the education minister was still a captain, a much junior rank in the army. On seeing Alupo donning pips of a captain, a surprised Museveni reportedly asked, “how can a minister be a captain?” The next morning, Alupo turned up as a major. The Independent magazine also reported the complaints in UPDF regarding promotions. Then-brigadier Henry Tumukunde, the former Director General of the Intelligence Services Organisation (ISO), expressed disgruntlement over promotions in the army. “I served as a division commander and headed ISO but I have remained on the rank for more than 10 years. Yet, those who have served in the army for 10 years have been promoted to the same rank and above.” Although Tumukunde did not mention names, he was understood to have been referring to Muhoozi, the president’s son. Tumukunde was later promoted to lieutenant general and retired [2]. David Tinyefunza (Sejusa) also complained, saying “Imagine 70 year olds who joined the army before some of us started school still serving and on the army pay roll… retire us and spare us the humiliation of having to salute our grandchildren…”

According to the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) Act, there are clear provisions for promotions in the army [1]. However, there have been allegations of nepotism which have seen some personnel stagnate in ranks yet they have served for long in the force, while others have been promoted rapidly, and yet they are considered newcomers [2]. In late March 2020, President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, promoted Major General Abel Kandiho from the rank of brigadier general, and 11 other officers to the rank of major general while 12 officers were elevated to the rank of brigadier general, while five officers were promoted to the rank of colonel. According to the UPDF/defence spokesperson Brigadier General Richard Karemire, these promotions, were approved on the recommendation of the Commissions Board. It was claimed that Major General Kandiho has been at the centre of intelligence operations that are said to have dismantled cells officials say were aimed at destabilizing Uganda, via regional forces. It was also reported that his right-hand man Colonel C.K Asiimwe has been promoted to brigadier general. He heads the Chieftancy of Millitary Intelligency’s (CMI) Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce. CMI is the main intelligence arm of the defence forces and reports directly to the president. Others promoted include Brigadier General Ddiba Ssentongo, Deputy Managing Director, National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the business arm of UPDF, Hudson Mukasa who is the Defence Attache to Kenya; Lucky Kidega Defence attaché to Somalia; Innocent Oula the UPDF MP and head of Civil Military Cooperation; Geoffrey Katsigazi, the deputy commander of the UPDF Airforce; Jack Bakasumba, the Joint Chief of Staff Uganda Police and Charles Okidi, Chief of Staff, Airforce and George Igumba, Chief of personnel and administration — all to the rank of Major General.

Section 55 [1] of the UPDF Act 2005 provides the considerations for the promotion of an officer or a militant, where the Board shall consider the following–a) the establishment of the Defence Forces; b) his or her length of service, and where applicable, age; c) training or courses or both, attended; d) appointment; e) results of such standard promotions examinations, practical and written, to be attended after such periods after successful completion of the requisite courses, as shall be prescribed by the Defence Forces Council; f) confidential reports by his or her commanding officer or head of department regarding-i) character; ii) discipline; and iii) performance; g) for professionals and quasi-professionals, qualifications and experience; and; h) such other conditions as the Defence Forces Council may prescribe. However, these processes are normally abused by the appointing authorities [2, 3]. Again the vetting is purely confined within the ministry of defence and statehouse. Therefore, the vetting process is not subjected to any external party.

There are four executive bodies in Ukraine whose activities are related to intelligence: Security Service of Ukraine (due to its counter-intelligence powers), MOD Main Directorate of Intelligence, Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine and the intelligence agency of the Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. The VRU appoints and dismisses the head of the Security Service of Ukraine following the president’s submission [1]. Heads of the SSU Departments are appointed by the president following the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine submission [2]; information about such decisions is made public [3]. The President of Ukraine also appoints the head of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine [4], the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine [5] and the Head of the intelligence agency of the Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine [6]. There are general requirements for individuals applying for civil service positions [7]; however, the legislation provides the possibility of a closed competition for civil service positions related to issues of state secrets, mobilization, defence and national security [8]. There is no further information available on the selection criterion for these specific positions.

The President of Ukraine has a decisive influence on the SSU activities [1], appointments to the service [2] as well as on the appointments of the heads of the MoD Main Directorate of Intelligence [3], the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine [4] and the intelligence agency of the Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine [5]. There is a lack of evidence of such senior positions being given as a ‘pure gift,’ and the appointed individuals have extensive professional experience.

There is not enough information to score this indicator. There is no publicly available information on the investigation of candidates by external parties (besides the media and CSOs investigations [1]). The VRU has the de-jure right not to appoint the SSU head following the President`s of Ukraine submission; however, it did not use it.

Information about the intelligence services in the UAE is scarce. However, senior and ministerial positions within these services are appointed through Emiri Decrees. In February 2016, according to a presidential decree, the UAE had appointed the son of Abu Dhabi’s powerful Crown Prince Major General Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as the head of the country’s state security department. It is important to note here, that there is no evidence to support that there is a clear process in the selection of these positions, particularly as these positions are filled through Emiri Decrees. According to sources, more than ten foreign officers head intelligence and state security operations, including the special forces of the Emiri guards. Thus, although the appointments take into consideration merit and experience, loyalty is the most important factor (1), (2).

Senior positions in the intelligence services are primarily appointed by the executive. Senior positions within the defence and intelligence services take place through appointments through Emiri Decrees. Although it is not clear whether these appointments are given as a gift per se, the appointments are considered subjective. According to sources, the Emirs prefer to appoint foreigners from USA, UK, and Australia as heads of defence institutions, state security, and royal guards operations, training and development. The Emir looks for loyalists who could serve him and not someone from the royal family or the UAE who could gain strength, and potentially harm MBZ’s authority (1), (2).

According to sources, who have access to the armed forces and intelligence services, there is a process of vetting that primarily looks at two factors in the candidate: merits and skills. But the candidate must also be loyal to MBZ. For example, the head of the UAE Presidential Guards is former Australian Major General Mike Hindmarch, and the head of the intelligence sections within the UAE Presidential Guard is Desi Watson, a Briton. Both of them have high merits and lots of experience, but their loyalty is dependent on a huge financial package (500,000USD annually), according to our source (1), (2).

The director of the Security Service is appointed by the Secretary of State of the Home Office under the terms of the Security Service Act 1989 [1]. The directors of the SIS and GCHQ are appointed by the Secretary of State of the FCO under the terms of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 [2]. All appointments are made with the agreement of the Prime Minister. The appointment announcement for the current Director of GCHQ implied that the appointment was made following a formal recruitment process, chaired by National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant [3]. However, there were no publicly available selection criteria for these posts. All other senior positions are advertised in line with all Civil Service appointments and include objective selection criteria and a clearly outlined selection process [4].

GCHQ, MI5 and other intelligence services have rigurous selection procesudres, including for senior positions [1, 2, 3]. This provides little space for opportunities for intervention by third parties that may result in selection bias or undue influence in the selection of candidates.

At GCHQ, the vetting process involves completing detailed questionnaires, discussing these with a Vetting Officer and agreeing references for interview [1]. At MI5, candidates are required to obtain the highest government security clearance, Developed Vetting (DV) [2]. Developed vetting is used widely across government for any post involving TOP SECRET information [3]. The vetting process for all intelligence services also includes a hiring panel with security clearance, and the right to call witnesses and demand information [4].

The leaders of the Intelligence Community (IC) are appointed by the President, and the White House has the authority to hire and fire them [1]. The legislation regarding the appointment of the Director of National Intelligence states that they shall be appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate, and that they must have ‘extensive national security expertise’ [2]. Beyond this, there are no further criteria stated. Similarly, both the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office and the Director of the CIA are appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate, but the legislation does not provide any further details on the selection criteria [3,4].

Given that the leaders of the Intelligence Community are selected by the President, there is the possibility that there is bias in the selection. For example, President Trump announced his selection for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in 2019 but went on to withdraw it due to the widespread backlash resulting from the nominee’s lack of qualifications, falsification of prosecution experience, and staunch Trump loyalty [1,2].

Impartiality is limited by the requirement that the Senate must confirm the presidentially nominated candidates before they are appointed [3]. As with other appointments, however, President Trump bypassed Senate approval by installing acting leaders [4]. As multiple news outlets and civil society organisations noted throughout the Trump adminstration, over-reliance on acting leadership is unconstitutional and runs the risk of having unqualified and unethical officials [5,6,7]. Trump re-nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe to the position of DNI after Ratcliffe’s nomination was previously withdrawn; this was seen by many as a move to take advantage of the loophole in the Vacancies Act, which allows the extension of the acting capacity if a nomination is rejected or withdrawn [7].

There is no hiring panel or selection committee as the candidates for leadership positions are nominated by the President. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has jurisdiction to review, hold hearings about and report on nominations of civilian individuals for certain positions in the Intelligence Community, where the appointment is made by the President with the Senate’s approval [1]. As part of this, the SSCI conducts open hearings for the nominated candidates [2]. Some of these positions (e.g. CIA Director) require Senate confirmation, some do not [3]. For example, the Deputy Director of the CIA is appointed by the President without Senate approval [4]. As such, the vetting process is restricted only to certain positions. The Director of National Intelligence requires the consent of the Senate, a process which typically involves security clearances, meeting with relevant committee members and a confirmation hearing and vote [5,6].

As noted above, the DNI position was filled in an acting capacity between August 2019 and May 2020 by Joseph Maguire and Richard Grenell, meaning that a vetting process was not conducted by the Senate for the leadership of the intelligence community during that period. Trump is accused of widely abusing the acting capacity, which has allowed him to install controversial and underqualified individuals to high office. The Senate confirmation of John Ratcliffe as DNI in May 2020 was criticised by some media outlets as an example of weak vetting, particularly as Ratcliffe had previously been withdrawn from the process the first time he was nominated in September 2019 for having no qualifications for the position [6,7].

The regulations of the intelligence services do not establish objective and clear criteria for the selection of senior officers. Many of these positions are filled on a discretionary basis.

The Organic Regulations of the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) provide that the Director General be appointed by the President of the Republic. This position is responsible not only for the direction and planning of intelligence actions, but also for administrative matters, with the capacity to commit and order budget expenditures. The director may also make discretionary appointments on the grounds that they are appointments of confidence. Although this regulation states that there is a merit system for promotions, it does not refer to any criteria and explicitly excludes senior officials from this system [1].

The Organic Regulations of the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) provide that the director shall be appointed by the President of the Republic; unlike the general director of the SEBIN, this officer has no jurisdiction in administrative matters. However, they direct counterintelligence actions and are able to appoint officials to positions of trust without limitation, and without a clear definition of which positions fall under this category [2].

The directors of the SEBIN and the DGCIM are freely appointed and removable by the President of the Republic. As such, these positions solely correspond to the interests of the executive [1, 2].

Both services are currently headed by military officials who have been accused of involvement in torture, and the National Assembly has requested the dismissal of both; however, the executive has not ruled on these charges [3, 4]. As in other units of the armed forces, the intelligence services have been condemned for promotions and appointments that correspond to a criterion of loyalty to the regime, which distorts and politicises these services [5].

Within the regulations for the Venezuelan intelligence services, background checks and eligibility criteria are not laid out as prerequisites for senior positions [1, 2]. Moreover, the former and current directors of these services have in recent years been accused of serious human rights violations and reported to the International Criminal Court, and their involvement in drug trafficking has been proven [3, 4].

The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is provided for in the Constitution; however, there is no Act of Parliament to provide for its operation and procedures. The Constitution states that the president appoints the director general of the CIO, but the procedure is not fully spelt out, and there are no clear criteria for appointments [1]. Unlike in the defence forces where procedures for promotion are outlined, the CIO is not legislated it is generally lumped with the Office of the President and Cabinet. The CIO is alleged to be a weapon that is subject to political or even partisan control by the ruling party. In the end, senior appointments are sometimes announced by the executive, specifically the president without much of an explanation [2]. When former President Mugabe was forcibly removed from office the new president fired senior CIO officials replacing them with those perceived to be loyal to him and his faction [3].

Senior appointments are primarily made by the executive, the absence of an Act of Parliament in this respect makes the appointments discretionary, giving room for abuse or manipulation for personal political objectives. The fact that the leadership of the CIO was changed as soon as the executive changed in 2017 confirms this point. [1] The current director general of the CIO is a former ambassador and a known ally of President Mnangagwa [2].

Procedurally, there should be vetting before promotions; however, senior appointments are highly politicised and compromised. The appointment process is a highly political process that involves appointments by the president in terms of the Constitution and the Defence Act [1]. The president appoints people following advice from the minister, yet another political individual, who in turn, is advised by a board contained in the Defence Act. The board has a past retired commander seating in it, in which case since 1980 all retired army generals seamlessly become part of the ruling ZANU-PF and even more in the current set up the retired general is now the vice president while the previous air marshall is now a cabinet minister [2, 3].

Country Sort by Country 22a. Objective selection criteria Sort By Subindicator 22b. Selection bias Sort By Subindicator 22c. Vetting process Sort By Subindicator
Albania 25 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Algeria 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Argentina 50 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
Armenia 25 / 100 NEI NEI
Australia 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Azerbaijan 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Bangladesh 25 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Belgium 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 25 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Botswana 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Brazil 0 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Canada 0 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Chile 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
China 0 / 100 0 / 100 NEI
Colombia 50 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Denmark 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Egypt 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Estonia 25 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Finland 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
France 0 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Germany 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Greece 25 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Hungary 0 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
India 0 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Indonesia 25 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Iran 0 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Israel 50 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Italy 100 / 100 25 / 100 NEI
Japan 0 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
Kenya 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Kosovo 75 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Kuwait 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Latvia 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Lebanon 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Lithuania 100 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Malaysia 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Mali 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Mexico 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Montenegro 50 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Myanmar 25 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Netherlands 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
New Zealand 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 0 / 100 NEI NEI
Nigeria 25 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
North Macedonia 25 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
Norway 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Philippines 25 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Poland 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Portugal 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Russia 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Serbia 25 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Singapore 25 / 100 50 / 100 NEI
South Africa 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
South Korea 0 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
South Sudan 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Spain 75 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Sudan 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Sweden 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Switzerland 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Taiwan 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Tanzania 0 / 100 NEI NEI
Thailand 25 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 0 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Turkey 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Uganda 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Ukraine 25 / 100 25 / 100 NEI
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
United Kingdom 75 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
United States 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Venezuela 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Zimbabwe 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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