University of Leicester
2023CasasJCFPhD.pdf (4.6 MB)

The impact of terrorism on the Spanish and Norwegian cultures of intelligence The organisational , operational, doctrinal and ethical changes in the Counter Terrorist Human Intelligence (CT HUMINT) structures. A comparative study from 1970-2018.

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posted on 2023-11-14, 10:16 authored by Juan C. Fernández-Casas

This thesis provides a comparative analysis between Spanish and Norwegian Counter-Terrorist Human Intelligence (CT-HUMINT) structures under the tension of terrorism between 1970 and 2018. The dissertation examines the evolution of CT-HUMINT structures, a topic not broadly addressed by scholars due to the secretiveness of HUMINT (spying). The comparison provides an exceptional comparison due to the asymmetry of both countries in idiosyncrasies, cultures of intelligence and terrorist tensions within the same European context: Spain, a young democracy after a dictatorship with 50 years of terrorism, and Norway, an open and peaceful society with only one relevant terrorist attack.

Applying a descriptive phenomenologist framework and more than 40 in-depth interviews1 with intelligence officers, the dissertation empirically exposes unique findings for scholars and practitioners about how Spanish and Norwegian CT-HUMINT structures evolve differently depending on their cultures of intelligence (idiosyncrasy, history, and heritage), and the level of terrorism. Secondly, it answers how those CT-HUMINT structures evolve as reactive or proactive ecosystems and the differences/similarities in doctrines (learning-by-doing/observation) between both countries. Thirdly, the thesis argues the divergences in ethics between Spain (secretiveness) and Norway (transparency) in CT-HUMINT and developments (at different speeds) of those CT-HUMINT ecosystems when Spanish and Norwegian societies are (or not) under terrorism.

Finally, the thesis provides relevant findings on CT-HUMINT structures, such as backgrounds, importance and adaptability of CT-HUMINT to this complex world, endogenous/exogenous influences (trigger points), and oversight mechanisms in the opaque CT-HUMINT field.



Mark Phythian; David Strachan Morris; John Moran

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Politics and International Relations

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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