General Powers and Duties

General Powers and Duties

According to the terms of Article 8, Item 1 of the Portuguese Republic’s Intelligence Systems Framework Law (LQSIRP), "the control of SIRP is guaranteed by the Oversight's Council, elected by the Assembly of the Republic, without affecting this sovereign body’s constitutional supervisory powers.

To this end, in accordance with the terms of Article 9, Item 1 of the LQSIRP, the Council for the Oversight of the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic monitors and supervises the activities of the Secretary General and the intelligence services, verifying that they comply with the Constitution and the Law, especially where citizens’ fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees are concerned.

According to the terms of Article 34, Item 2 of the LQSIRP, the powers of monitoring and supervising of the Council for the Oversight of the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic also apply to the Armed Forces intelligence production activities, which is ensured by the Military Intelligence Center (CISMIL).

Specific competences

However, the LQSIRP gives the Council for the Oversight of the Intelligence System of the Portuguese the following specific competences. These are the same as those listed in Article 9, Item 2 of the LQSIRP, namely:

a) Assessing the reports that concern the activities of each of the intelligence services;

b) Receiving, from the Secretary General, every two months, a full list of the ongoing processes, with the right to request and obtain any explanations and complementary information considered necessary for the Board to be able to fully exercise its supervisory powers;

c) Finding out, from the Prime Minister, the governmental guidelines concerning intelligence research and obtaining explanations, from the Superior Intelligence Council, about how the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic works;

d) Carrying out inspection visits with the aim of gathering information about how the Secretary General and the intelligence services work and about their activities;

e) Requesting any information required from the data centres that is considered necessary for carrying out its activities or knowledge of any wrongdoing or violations of the law;

f) Issuing formal written reports at least once a year about the workings of the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic and presenting them to the Assembly of the Republic;

g) Proposing to the Government that inspection, enquiry or sanctioning procedures be carried out, as a result of events that are sufficiently serious to justify them;

h) Pronouncing on any legislative initiatives that concern the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic, as well as on the administrative, financial and personnel organization and management of these services.

General competence

From another perspective, in accordance with the terms of Article 9, Item 3 of the LQSIRP, the Council for the Oversight of the Intelligence System of the Portuguese Republic also monitors and knows about the allowed methods for exchanging information between the services, as well as the types of relationship that these services maintain with other organisations, especially the police, which are responsible for upholding the law and are obliged to cooperate.