Sanctus – The government is reportedly considering splitting the Homeland Security Bureau out of the Sanctarian Federal Police to make it a stand alone agency, the domestic equivalent of the Sanctarian Intelligence Service. The Homeland Security Bureau, or HSB, has been a department within the SFP (and the Sanctarian Police Force before federalisation) since the foundation of the state and is tasked with domestic counter-intelligence.
Chancellor Charlene Hendry is reportedly concerned about the lack of transparency with the day-to-day tasks of the HSB, particularly as the head of the HSB does not report directly to Justice Secretary Eric Hill, but instead reports to the Commissioner of the Sanctarian Federal Police. Hendry is also allegedly thought to believe that a separate agency would be more easily scrutinised by both parliament and the media, to help ensure actions done by the entity – the only one in Sanctaria permitted, in theory, to spy on its own citizens – are held to account.
It’s understood that both Secretary Hill and Homeland Secretary Kathryn Stewart have been sounding out opinions from those in their departments, including DHS Director-General Dr. Nicholas Carson, as well as Commissioner Thomas Grealish of the SFP, with considerable resistance allegedly coming from the police force. Director of the SIS, Alexandra Maye, however is thought to be supportive of the idea, with sources saying her arguments that an agency separate from the day-to-day politics of the SFP would only add to the intelligence community, and would enable citizens to have more trust in the SFP without thinking the force is also spying on them for national counter-intelligence purposes.
No formal decision is expected on whether or not to split the HSB from the SFP in the next few weeks, but a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told this paper that “evaluation of the Sanctarian intelligence community is one of the Secretary’s most important duties, and she will work to ensure the intelligence community works for the protection of Sanctaria and its citizens in the most effective and transparent way possible”. A spokesperson for Secretary Hill had a similar message saying “the Secretary regularly reviews operational processes in the Sanctarian Federal Police to ensure efficiency”.
BRIAN DeNOBLE, Defence & Security Correspondent