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How do you picture the head of a secret service? He presumably has cold, impenetrable eyes and a stern facial expression. Though, it is even more likely that you would not have the opportunity to see him in the first place. The faceless, powerful figure in the background provides great scope for paranoid fantasies and conspiracy theories – in Switzerland, too. The Director of the Federal Intelligence Service has therefore been appearing in public more often recently.
Before the referendum on the new Intelligence Service Act, Markus Seiler appeared first on “Arena” where he defended the bill, which gives the service extensive powers, in a composed but determined and, above all, successful way. The Swiss people placed their trust in him by adopting the new law. The 48-year-old from Thurgau then provided remarkably detailed and candid information in the media about the tasks and day-to-day activities of his team in combating terrorism and right-wing extremism.
Of course, this unusual amenability, composure and the sometimes ingenuous look of the very likeable director do not disguise the fact that the public will never know exactly what goes on behind the scenes at the FIS. That is the nature of the business. However, Markus Seiler, a political scientist and father of four, gave a face to the intelligence service last year and made a small contribution towards bringing the FIS a tiny bit closer to the public.