Internal Security Bureau (Benacia Command)
The Internal Security Bureau, established 06.XI.1671, is a counter-espionage and intelligence agency of the Raspur Pact operating in the Benacian Theatre. Subordinate to the Military Intelligence Directorate (D6) of Benacia Command's General Staff, the Internal Security Bureau is charged with maintaining operational security and ensuring the continuing loyalty of the Black Legions to the Pact.
The Internal Security Bureau was formed by Constantine Loup as a secret military police organisation, dedicated to rooting out enemies of the Raspur Pact from Benacia Command and ensuring that no future cabal of officers could be able to repeat his own actions during the Kalirion Fracture. The Bureau was initially staffed by a small band of eight officers personally vetted by Loup and his Chief of Staff, Mog Olnur. Their initial task was to screen defecting Imperial officers for double-agents and infiltrators as well as monitoring the ad hoc purge committees formed by Pact Loyalist commanders in order to ensure that the Salbnans were not being too egregious in using the opportunities afforded by the Fracture to denounce and eradicate their rivals. Licence was given for the Internal Security Bureau to assassinate any officer below the rank of corps commander whose loyalty or competence was suspect. Typically the killings would be made either to resemble death by natural causes, an accident, or else as an act by whatever opposing force was active in the victim's area of operations.
As the situation stabilised the Internal Security Bureau, formally subordinated to the Military Intelligence Directorate, was able to reorganise and expand into a more established and conventional organisation, albeit one that continued to enjoy more latitude in its operations than its sister agencies, the Analysis & Estimates Bureau and the Signals Bureau.
The influence of the Internal Security Bureau remains significant and a recommendation from its operatives can see an officer, even a senior magister, transferred, promoted out of harms way, or else abruptly retired on medical grounds.
The standing of the ISB was greatly compromised by the coup of 7–8.VII.1691 AN which saw the the Avon-El family headed by the former Szodan of Benacia, Jeremiah Avon-El, along with his son Zacharias, depose and stage the extrajudicial killing of the organisation's Deputy-Director. The failure to anticipate a full-blown uprising from within the ranks of the Black Legions would cost a number of operatives their lives and force yet more to go into hiding. The central archives of the ISB were seemingly destroyed by concealed demolition charges, remotely activated as legionaries from the XXXI Salb attempted to force an entry into the building.
As of 1673 AN the Internal Security Bureau consists of the Deputy-Director, a Salbnan transferred from the Northern Banner Group following the War in Wintergleam, supported by eight tribune-ranked desk officers located at the Panopticon Citadel in Merensk. A forty strong liaison team, again of tribunal rank, maintains the representation of the Internal Security Bureau in the subordinate banner groups of Benacia Command. An unknown number of additional operatives presently serve embedded, utilising manufactured identities, in the ranks of the Black Legions. The total strength of the Internal Security Bureau originally did not exceed that of a regiment (1,200 personnel) but expanded rapidly over subsequent years.
One of the chief duties of the ISB was to operate and maintain a Nodal Point Database of the Panopticon (modelled after its Constancian precursor), a special archive where all personal information about known "subversives" was dutifully compiled to create a "personal profile" containing all data concerning the subject's health, education, culture and habits, down to the minute details about his personal character and his sexual orientation.
The ISB compiled files on around 130,000 potential subversives with the aid of a network of informants, and by 1682 they had organised around 20,000 raids each week. It is believed that about 6,000 people were arrested by the ISB, mainly Verionists or persons of Batavian and or Amokolian ancestry, and were either tried by a three-man tribunal and subjected to summary punishment or sent into exile in monasteries or reformatories operated by the Elwynnese Republic on the Boreal islands of Leng and Raikoth.
Known operational sites
During the first three years of the Internal Security Bureau's existence recruits had been inducted into a cellular organisation linking back to the eight founding officers chosen by the Commander-in-Chief. Under this system candidates had been approached and recruited individually with procedures in place to ensure the compartmentalisation of the cadres. With the appointment of a new Deputy-Director in 1673, the training system was expanded and put on a more regular footing.
Prospective recruits are drawn from volunteers for the Black Legions at the point where they have completed the "Hardening" phase of their training at the "Depot" (Berht Klarænst). Selected personnel, after being subjected to a rigorous vetting process and psychometric audit, are transferred to the Military Intelligence Directorate Training Station in Gloomburg where they undergo a training regimen designed to cultivate their powers of observation, deduction, and persuasion.
Training would ramp up gently to begin with - the cultivation of improved memory being the foundation block for subsequent training - beginning with the "Karnalian observer's game":
Objects are placed on a waxed tent cover and the students are given several minutes to observe them. Items can include anything from a Kalgachi merit badge to a watch with a certain time set on it. The students have to memorise as much information as possible before the objects are covered up again. Later they have to recite what they saw in detail.
As noted, recruits are usually promising legionaries selected from the cadres passing through the Land Warfare Training Establishment, known as the Depot, for their intelligence, agility, and receptiveness to ideological instruction. As training progressed, the new recruits would receive, alongside political and economic studies, instruction in intelligence trade-craft, languages, and a thorough education in "Western Benacian Culture Systems", usually given by former Imperial Officers who had served in Batavia or on the Sxiro-Kalgachi Military Coordination Council, to provide them with an understanding of the foreign actors likely to pose a risk to the internal security of Benacia Command. The candidates also received stringent ideological and theological tuition from MID education officers.
Assignment at the Training Station would last for twelve months before the operatives would be dispatched to their new duty stations, usually under the guise of officers of the General Inspectorate.