Long ago, intelligence and security services were established by princes for their own sake. Nowadays, in our democracies, citizens have replaced the princes. The old idea that raison d’état might hide the activities of the intelligence services under its coat can hence no longer be accepted. No modern Machiavelli, if there were one, could challenge the idea that citizens and their representatives have a ‘right to know’ what leads to the existence of these services and what their actions imply. The very idea of oversight of intelligence activities comes directly from the theory of the modern state. Intelligence, as any other activity, has to be restrained. Parliament has an obvious role in this, but what about the executive? Could it be associated with this oversight, and how? But intelligence is also a commodity that is jointly produced or simply exchanged across the borders. International cooperation between intelligence and security services is supposed to remain compatible with the general norms usually implemented in our democracies, especially the legal and ethical standards guiding the behaviour of public authorities. This challenge of playing by the rules is at the core of the requirement for legitimacy, which, along with the efficient discharge of their duties, is one of the two basic conditions of the intelligence and security agencies’ struggle for life in this new century. If these challenges are not met, these bureaucratic creatures will not only be irrelevant in providing a useful answer to our contemporary security problems but also, sooner or later, the agencies’ continued survival will be threatened. As one scholar put it recently ‘liaison needs to be better understood in the current international environment. This is not least because of the obstacles it presents to effective accountability and oversight, considerations especially enhanced in an era of increasingly “globalized” intelligence.’1 But a strictly legalistic approach to the issue of intelligence cooperation could lead to an impasse. Too often, the intelligence services and the security services are seen as twins. In essence, security services (dealing with domestic intelligence) base their competence on legally

sanctioned exceptions to internal general standards (for accessing personal data on citizens, implementing electronic surveillance measures and so on). Intelligence services (responsible for collecting foreign intelligence abroad) have their activity deeply rooted in the transgression of foreign legal rules, which is inherent in their collecting process.2