Security Information AgencyБезбедносно-информативна агенција

From the First Serbian Uprising in 1804 up to the establishment of the Department for Secret Police Work in 1899

During the First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813) the civil security-intelligence work was not organized in a separate institution, but was carried out within the military-administrative service of the revolutionary Serbia.

Revolutionary authorities maintained order by preventing attacks on authorities, physical protection of the Governing Council (Praviteljstvujušči sovjet), Karadjordje and certain prominent seniors, appeasing the internal conflicts and unrests.

The first building of the Ministry of Interior (1862) was situated near the City Hall of today

The suppression of espionage conducted by Turkey and other countries (Austria, Russia and at one point in time France as well) was far more challenging for military and police authorities of the revolutionary state. Revolutionary authorities targeted infiltrated Turkish spies and Serbs who provided information to Turks.

In 1808 the Governing Council issued order to preventively banish from Belgrade and other Serbian cities all betraying individuals that are potentially involved in espionage for the enemy purposes, while, according to the Decree from 1809, police and judicial authorities "were to pay special attention to malevolent people, outlaws, spies and similar". Also, in July 1810, the Council issued order that correspondence from Serbia was to be made exclusively in Serbian language and that it is to be inspected prior to its delivering to "the ferryboat", i.e. to its sending to other countries.

The first document from the era of Karadjordje, which embodied the proposal for the development of the civil intelligence-security activities, was "Nacertanije for police authority's organization in Belgrade and other places in the Fatherland" from March 8, 1811.

For the first time the police and military work was separated in this document (Article 1). The position of "the Head of Police" (polizeimeister), responsible to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was established. The Head of Police was superior to so-called "liktors" – assistants for the interior, foreign and secret services (Article 4).

Namely, the first Ministry of Internal Affairs was established in January 1811 within the new Governing Council. Jakov Nenadovic was named as its first Minister. The founding of this Ministry had great significance for the development of security and intelligence functions, but also for bodies for their enforcement. Apart from abiding the state authorities' legal work, handling of "internal affairs" referring to the security of citizens and property, tax gathering, suppression of outlaws, control of roads and crossings, public law and order, the Minister was in charge of the civil security-intelligence work as well.

Encoded telegram sent by the Head of the District of Valjevo Mata Radovic to the Minister of Interior (December 12, 1882.)

In the period of his first rule (1815-1839), Prince Milos Obrenovic devoted great attention to the organization of security-intelligence activities carried out in two directions. The first direction was aimed at securing the Prince's rule from internal coups, uprisings and plots, Turkish military aggression against Serbia and interfering of Russia and Austria in Serbian internal affairs. The second direction was aimed at law and order in the country, i.e. control of administrative institutions' work, conduct of authorities towards the people, control of life standard and rotation of the currency value in open markets, inspection of sanitary facilities' work and similar.

In the time of Milos's rule, the security-intelligence bodies were engaged in secret procurement of weaponry and war equipment from abroad, protection from top secret disclosure, gathering of political-diplomatic notifications, revealing of misinformation on Serbia and its Prince, as well as in channeling of foreign political views towards the existing requirements of Milos's policy.

In the period when Serbs struggled to establish national autonomy, gathering of secret data and information was made by means of verbal narrating of eyewitnesses and hirelings, written deliveries and passwords.

The gaining of autonomy (1830) resulted in wider organizing of political intelligence work in Serbia. With aim to protect the security of Princess Ljubica, the Administration of the town of Belgrade" was founded in 1830. On April 2, 1831, Prince Milos enacted Decree on establishing "the Secret police for political affairs" within the Belgrade police.

The state administration in the Principality of Serbia was organized by issuing the document "Structuring of the Central State Administration" on March 10, 1862, which was important also for the further development of security-intelligence activities. The competence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs included "concern regarding the order, peace, security of individuals and properties in the country, monitoring of the public places, press, journalism and malevolent people and societies".

Following the Berlin Congress (1878), Serbia became an independent country. Upon acquiring its independence, Prince Milan implemented reforms in 1882 related to the army and public security institutions.