by Neil Faulkner

We all know the federation is a totalitarian state. It rigidly stratifies the mass of citizenry, keeps a close watch on them, and ruthlessly squashes internal dissent. This has some perverted appeal to scriptwriters and fan writers alike, and the organs of suppression are frequently alluded to, even if their actual appearances are rather rare. It seems to be vaguely assumed that there is some central intelligence body, all-seeing, all-knowing, and effectively all- powerful. This body is, however, rather ill-defined, and the only thing that comes across clearly is that it is Central Something. This article is a cursory look at the possible structure of Federation intelligence.

Niel Faulkner (21K)
The idea of a single intelligence organ doesn't hold up too well when compared with rea-world examples. Britain has MI5 and MI6, for internal and external spying. American intelligence is generally considered to be the province of the CIA, but there is also the DIA, the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office. In the Soviet Union, arguably a good model for the Federation, the well known KGB had a long and uneasy relationship with the less familiar GRU, which collected military intelligence. Many of the notorious purges under Stalin were principally either the KGB (then called the NKVD) or GRU systematically obliterating each other. Given that the Federation is so massive, with billions, perhaps trillions of citizens, the idea of one central intelligence body seems unlikely. Most likely there are several, perhaps many, and the series seems to support this idea.


References to intelligence bodies include:

Central Intelligence (Seek-Locate-Destroy). Rai handed Servalan some microtapes from Central Intelligence.

Interrogation Division (Seek-Locate-Destroy). Travis handed Cally over to Int Div. Shrinker alluded to being a member of this body in Rumours.

Central Computers (Duel). Travis had looked Kie-Eyrie up in their data banks.

Central Data Banks (Horizon). These were mentioned by either the Kommissar or his assistant.

Central Control (Pressure Point). The very nerve centre of the Federation. Actually a computer system rather than an organisation, later replaced by Star One.

The Information Bureau (Trial). Senator Bercol was head of the Information Bureau, and as such a member of the High Council.

Central Security (Rumours of Death). Bartolomew worked for this organisation, and at least some senior officers were known as Controllers.

Central Intelligence Control (Animals). Borr was an Intelligence Commander at CIC.

The Bureau (Animals). The ill-fated Ardus worked for the Bureau when the Bucol-2 project was initiated, and this was before the Intergalactic War. Commissioner Sleer (as Sleer, not Servalan) had the power to issue directives to the Bureau (in the episode, regarding the filing of flight plans).

Right, what sense can we make of all this? The first thing to do is to see what references might actually be to the same thing under different names. (Actually the first thing to do is to realise that Chris Boucher couldn't be bothered to handle the continuity on this one. But if he'd done that I couldn't be here now, boring you all to tears, so good on him!). What of the above might be what?

It seems safe to assume that Central Control, the Central Computers and Central Data Banks are all one and the same, a database for collating information rather than an agency to process and utilise it. The function of Central Control, from an intelligence point of view, is to collate and sort information and make it available to relevant departments, including intelligence bodies. Not everyone would gain the same degree of access to this information.

The Bureau is probably short-hand for the Information Bureau, and here we hit a problem. Central Intelligence Control sounds like a different body, and it's tempting to think of it as a post-War replacement for the Bureau. But it was Sleer - not Servalan who wrote standing orders for the Bureau, so it must have survived the War. Yet the (military) officer she consulted in Animals worked for CIC. Are they synonymous? I suspect not. CIC may be the senior department in the bureau, however.

The Interrogation Division is almost certainly a Space Command organ. Shrinker wore a troopers uniform, though that might not mean much in his post-War position. Travis handed Cally over to Int Div, and the very word 'division' suggests a military body. Int Div might be military intelligence, or a branch of it.

It's tempting to equate CIC with the Central Intelligence in Seek-Locate- Destroy. Rai was a military officer, Servalan was then head of the military, and so Central Intelligence might have been the military intelligence agency.

Central Security could be either a military or administrative body. Probably the latter, since Shrinker noted that the 'elite from Central' rather looked down on humble Int Div. Bartolomew was assigned to run Avon on the theory that he was politically motivated, but that in itself is not terribly informative.


Exactly how we rationalise all these different references into some kind of coherent whole is a matter of personal taste (always assuming you want to in the first place), so the following is just a possibility.

Both the Civil Administration and Space Command have their own intelligence agencies. For the Administration it is the Information Bureau, for Space Command it is Central Intelligence (including the Interrogation Division). Each has a theoretically different purview, though in practice their interests often overlap. Each is suspicious of the other, since the Bureau exists to protect the Administration from (amongst others) Space Command, and the CIC is sworn to the service of the military. Dissident activities like terrorism would attract both, and their innate suspicion of each other would turn them into rivals.

To try and keep this rivalry in check, both fall under the umbrella of Central Security, a nominally independent coordination agency. Bureaucratic departments being what they are, however, Central Security would exploit the power of its neutral position to the hilt and play the Bureau and Central Intelligence off against each other. The Bureau and Central Intelligence (via the Supreme Commander) are both accountable to the President via the High Council. Central Security is not, but is directly accountable to the President in person, though exactly who dictates to who is a matter of debate. The guards around the Moondisc farms were protected by the President's personal security force, and these may well have been Central Security personnel. Central Security also has a number of subsidiary departments, one of them being the ADPI, Advisory Directorate of Psychostrategical Intelligence.

All three organs have access to Central Control, but not total access. If Central Security is the ultimate arbiter of what Central Intelligence and the Bureau get to see, then it is in a very powerful position indeed. In Pressure Point Servalan needed High Council authorisation to have the Forbidden Zone's defences deactivated, and this might have been routed through Central Security.

The relationship is not fixed. I've argued elsewhere in this zine that the power of the military was severely curtailed after the Intergalactic War. If this was the case, then it might be the Bureau that attained the dominant position. Central Intelligence would be in a subordinate position, and the need for Central Security would disappear. Military intelligence would then be a sub- department of the Bureau, under joint military and administrative supervision - Central Intelligence Control. This might account for the apparent contradiction in Animals. If Sleer was, as suggested by Traitor, a *police* commissioner, then she might well have the power to dictate Bureau procedure, on a local scale at least, and CIC would be obliged to follow suit. It might also account for Sleer's ability to appropriate troops and have them seconded to her command, even though her position was not expressly military.

If all that sounds a bit complex, then at least it reflects the workings of real- world intelligence bodies. It also rationalises the disparate and sometimes contradictory canonical references listed above, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were others that throw the whole arrangement out of kilter. If you know of them, let me know!

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