Samiksha Jaiswal

Security and Intelligence Division

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Formed  February 1966
Employees  ~500
Jurisdiction  Government of Singapore

The Security and Intelligence Division (abbreviation: SID) is the external intelligence agency of Singapore responsible for gathering and analysing intelligence related to the country's external security. Although it is located within the Ministry of Defence, it has a certain independence in that it is not under the control of either of the Permanent Secretaries of Defence. It is also highly secretive as most of its personnel are known only to Singapore's top officials. The SID is led by a Director, who holds the rank of Permanent Secretary and reports directly to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Back in the 1970s, the Director reported directly to the Defence Minister. According to a 1975 article in The Straits Times, the SID had the post of Deputy Director, which was held by Lim Chye Heng at the time. It is not known whether this post still exists.


History and activities

The SID shared a similar background to its domestic counterpart, the Internal Security Department (ISD). Before 1965, Singapore's primary intelligence agency was the Malaysian Special Branch. After Singapore gained independence in 1965, the Ministry of Interior and Defence was directed to reorganise and consolidate all intelligence capabilities in January 1966. The SID was subsequently established in February 1966, with Tay Seow Huah as its first Director. In 1974, S. R. Nathan, who was then the SID Director, led a negotiation team to help resolve the Laju hostage crisis.

As the SID is a highly secretive organisation, information about its activities is only released occasionally to the media. In 2001, Yap Chuin Wei, a reporter from The Straits Times, interviewed a former SID officer on the agency's work. The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the SID works in three main ways: collection of information, analysis of information, and informal diplomacy. The SID was also mentioned in Lee Kuan Yew's book From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000, in which it is said to have played a role in providing weapons to anti-communist forces in Cambodia in the 1970s. The SID also played a role in rebuilding Singapore's relations with Indonesia after the Konfrontasi ended in 1966. Tim Huxley wrote a short history of the SID in his book Defending the Lion City: The Armed Forces of Singapore, which was published in 2000.

The former SID officer interviewed by Yap said that SID officers rarely receive public awards due to security and political concerns. They are awarded a set of medals equivalent to the National Day medals instead but their names are not publicised.

In 2004, the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) was set up under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to deal with security threats and terrorism. This meant that the SID and the ISD, which previously worked independent of each other, had to share information for the first time.

In August 2013, it was alleged that the SID cooperated with the Australian Signals Directorate to tap the undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


The following is a list of known Directors of the SID.


Security and Intelligence Division Wikipedia

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