Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage

The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (English: External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service, SDECE) was France's external intelligence agency from 6 November 1944 to 2 April 1982 when it was replaced by the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE). It should not be confused with the Deuxième Bureau which was intended to pursue purely military intelligence.

Under the Fourth Republic the SDECE was subordinated to the Council President. From the onset of the Fifth Republic and until 1962, it was subordinate to Prime Minister Michel Debré and its resources largely dedicated to the Algerian War. Following the Mehdi Ben Barka affair, General Charles de Gaulle subordinated the service to the Ministry of Defence, and the service was gradually militarized.

Its next to last director was Alexandre de Marenches.

Directors of the SDECE

Known operations

Known or supposed agents

In popular culture

See also


  1. Alfred Mc Coy, 9 November 1991 interview, by Paul DeRienzo
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