Keynote lecture: "The control of secret services in democratic societies"; with the participation of Kostantin Kuhle, member of the German parliament.
"The balance between the needs of secret services and the protection of fundamental rights in liberal democracies is the challenge facing European intelligence."
This is how Kostantin Kuhle, Member of the Deutscher Bundestag, began his speech at the conference on Thursday, May 18: "The control of secret services in democratic societies" which took place at the Schiller International University, Madrid.
In an increasingly complex and constantly evolving society, understanding the reality of intelligence services becomes crucial. In this regard, we were privileged to attend a truly revealing day in which seven leading experts shared their experience and knowledge.
Accustomed to the secrecy involved in alluding to these issues, Kostantin Kuhle explained the basic structure of the German intelligence agencies and how they operate with such naturalness that he caught the attention of those present. In his speech he wanted to emphasize two peculiarities: on the one hand, that there are three federal departments that make up Intelligence in Germany, with different competences, and on the other hand, the "sensible separation" between the police and the secret services, "each with its own area of responsibility".
In the words of the vice-chairman of the FDP (Free Democratic Party) parliamentary group and spokesman for domestic policy, the balance between the needs of the secret services and the protection of fundamental rights in liberal democracies is the challenge facing European intelligence.
These same challenges also encompass the revision of data transmission rules from one agency to another; how to evaluate the work of the intelligence services; the federal state structure and uniform transfer of information; the reform of legislation at the security level and the reform of the Parliament's auxiliary bodies.
At the national level, Edmundo Bal, member of the Congress of Deputies and spokesman for the Ciudadanos parliamentary group in the Official Secrets Commission, participated in the event. His approach, less political and more legal, provided a unique and enlightening perspective on the processes related to judges and secret services.
Edmundo Bal, recognized for his experience as a state lawyer, presented a rigorous vision based on the legal principles that govern the work of the intelligence agencies in Spain. He kept a speech far from partisan interests and focused on highlighting the quality, exemplarity and professionalism of the judicial system in our country.
Both Fernando Pinto (former CESID agent) and Carlos Echevarría (Director of the intelligence course at the UNED) gave us a unique and profound perspective on the functioning of this department. Their experience and detailed vision allowed us to enter a little-known world and understand its importance in the protection of democratic values.
Maria Telleria, Professor of political communication, contributed an in-depth analysis. Her participation in the presentation allowed us to understand how information is managed through strategic communication in the context of intelligence services, a crucial aspect in the age of information and disinformation.
Last but not least, Ramón Trillo, former President of the Supreme Court, provided a fundamental legal and ethical perspective. His approach to the relationship between the secret services and the legal framework helped us to understand the challenges and limits that these agencies must face.
We also would like to express our gratitude to Fernando Maura, Director of the Libertas, Veritas et Legalitas (LVL) Forum, for his dedication and effort in bringing together high caliber experts in this field that resulted in an exceptional educational experience. Through their discussion, we had the opportunity to become informed and broaden our understanding of intelligence in democratic societies. Undoubtedly, their insights and perspectives will continue to be a valuable guide for those seeking to understand the complexity of this ever-developing field.