Learn more about SISMI
The agency was established in 1977, in response to a desire to decentralize the Italian intelligence community. This came after Vito Miceli's arrest, in 1974, a P2 member, chief of the SIOS (Servizio Informazioni), Army Intelligence's Service from 1969 and SID's head from 1970 to 1974, accused of "conspiration against the state" and involvement in the strategia della tensione, in which Gladio "stay-behind" NATO clandestine structure was found in the 1990s to be deeply implicated. General Giuseppe Santovito was SISMI's director in 1975. In 1977, the secret services were reorganized in a democratic attempt. With law #801 of 24/10/1977, SID was divided into SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare), SISDE (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica) and CESIS (Comitato Esecutivo per i Servizi di Informazione e Sicurezza). The CESIS has a coordination role, led by the President of Council.
General Nino Lugarese was SISMI's head from 1981 to 1984. He testified on Gladio.
SISMI is responsible for intelligence and security activities involving the military defence of Italy and for the integrity of the Italian State.
SISMI reports to the Italian Ministry of Defense and operates both inside and outside of Italy's borders. Domestic Intelligence and Security in Italy, which normally falls under SISDE's jurisdiction since it reports to the Ministry of the Interior, can also involve SISMI, unless the security threat comes from organized crime.
Its duties include:
- clearing activities with the Prime Minister;
- nominating the Director of the Service and his assistants under CIIS supervision.
The director at present is General Nicolò Pollari.
 Recent controversies
In 2004, Nicola Calipari, a high-ranking SISMI hostage negotiator, was killed at a U.S. Army checkpoint in Baghdad by Mario Lozano, purportedly after a communication breakdown between the Italian intelligence community and the occupying forces.
In 2005, SISMI was implicated in the Yellowcake forgery scandal. The forged documents purporting to detail an Iraqi purchase of yellowcake uranium from Niger were given to a "cutout" named Rocco Martino by a Colonel in SISMI, Antonio Nucera.  The head of SISMI, after claiming his agency received the documents from external sources, then gave the documents directly to Vice-President Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, bypassing the CIA, who knew the documents were forgeries. In doing so, Pollari ignored the established protocol for contacts between Italian and American intelligence agencies. .
In July 2006, the Italian judiciary power issued arrest warrants for several SISMI officials, including former Deputy Director Marco Mancini; Mancini's aide Giuseppe Ciorra; General Gustavo Pignero, agency chief for Northern Italy; Pio Pompa, aide to SISMI Director Niccolò Pollari; former Trieste Station Chief Lorenzo Pillinini; Former Padua Station Chief Marco Iodice; and, Milan Station Chief Maurizio Regondi relating to the joint CIA-SISMI operation resulting in the extraordinary rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, which SISMI Director Pollari had formally denied in testimony before a committee of the national legislature. As part of a judiciary investigation, a SISMI-run black operation targeting Romano Prodi and a vast domestic surveillance program was uncovered. Pompa prevailed upon the newpaper Libero to print allegations that Prodi, when serving as European Commissioner, had authorized the CIA prison flights via Italy. SISMI placed under surveillance La Repubblica reporters Giuseppe D'Avanzo and Carlo Bonini, who broke the Yellowcake forgery story.
 See also
 External links
- Official webpage of the Italian Intelligence Community
- Official webpage in English of the Italian Intelligence Communityde:Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare