Intelligence is the main product of Supo
Intelligence is unique information managed by Supo in serving top-level national government. Civilian intelligence operations only target phenomena that seriously jeopardise national security.
The function of Supo is to supply relevant and proactive information to safeguard national security. We must be able to identify risks and threats in advance in order to be ready to face them.
Supo supplies analysed intelligence to Finland’s top-level national leadership, meaning the Government and the President of the Republic. By applying intelligence methods, Supo is able to provide these clients with unique information that they cannot obtain from other sources. Other clients of Supo include a wide range of public authorities, businesses, organisations and private citizens.
Intelligence priorities guide intelligence gathering by Supo
Civilian intelligence priorities determine the target subjects of Supo intelligence gathering. These subjects reflect the principal information needs of Finland’s foreign and security policy leadership, and depend on the evolving security situation.
The priorities of civilian intelligence are prepared annually under the guidance of the Ministry of the Interior. In the course of these preparations Supo liaises with governing politicians and public servants to discuss their intelligence needs.
The intelligence priorities are also harmonised with the priorities set for military intelligence, which is the responsibility of the Defence Command Intelligence Division.
Civilian intelligence priorities are strictly based on the Civilian Intelligence Act, as intelligence operations may only target matters that are prescribed by law. Targets of civilian intelligence may include terrorism, the operations of foreign intelligence services, or activities that seriously jeopardise the democratic social order.
Data analysis is called the intelligence cycle
The basic work of an intelligence service may be described in terms of an intelligence cycle. Once the priorities of civilian intelligence have been defined, Supo applies a range of methods to gather relevant intelligence from various sources.
This information is then analysed to prepare reports and assessments for top-level national leaders and public authorities. The analysis is used in situation assessments and as support for policymaking.
Supo analysis draws on open sources and confidential operational information acquired through in-house intelligence gathering. Supo also receives information from domestic and international partners.
Intelligence often characteristically involves some degree of uncertainty. Information sources vary in reliability, and the intelligence gathered can sometimes be incomplete, so analysts carefully justify and peer review assessments based on intelligence and potential uncertainties are clearly highlighted.