Question: Why did you visit the Main Intelligence Directorate (MID)? What issues were on the agenda, and how can you describe the present role of intelligence on the world scene, in protecting national interests?
Vladimir Putin: The intelligence centre we are attending now is not just one of the many throughout the country—it is more than just intelligence alone. The Main Intelligence Directorate is Russia’s military intelligence. Its role has enormously increased over the past few years as a result of the notorious events here in the Caucasus and the world over, the need to combat terrorism. Intelligence of any kind is above all an instrument of foreign policy. Since we are dealing with military intelligence, one can add that it is a key component of consolidating our statehood.
Today, especially in the Caucasus where we have given up large-scale military action, the role of the secret services is certainly increased. The part of the Main Intelligence Directorate is equally crucial in cooperation with our partners in the international counter-terrorist coalition; the significance of military intelligence, as the phrase goes, can hardly be over-estimated here.
I should say that our military intelligence is a unique instrument because it employs forms and means beyond traditional ones. Our military intelligence makes use of satellite reconnaissance technology and other technical equipment and special units.
The MID special task force has won credit for its mission in the Chechen Republic. Still, I want to make the point, and we took special note of this today, that the efficiency of the Defence Ministry’s task forces is constantly growing as seen from the success of recent operations.