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The investigator heads from all over the world discuss in a private conclave in Singapore

June 7, 2023: Five people stated that senior officials from nearly two dozen of the foremost intelligence agencies held a secret meeting on the fringes of the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore this weekend.

They said that the Singapore government organizes such meetings, which have been discreetly held at a separate venue alongside the security summit for several years. The panels have yet to be previously reported.

The U.S. was represented by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, the head of her country’s intelligence community. Despite the tensions between the two superpowers, China was among the other countries present.

Samant Goel, the head of India’s overseas intelligence gathering agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, also observed, an Indian source said.

“The meeting is an important fixture on the international shadow agenda,” said one person knowledgeable about the discussions. “Given the range of nations involved, it is not a festival of tradecraft but rather a way of promoting a deeper understanding of intentions and bottom lines.

“There is an unspoken code among intelligence services that they can talk when more formal and open diplomacy is harder – it is a significant factor during times of tension, and the Singapore event helps promote that.”

All five sources who discussed the meetings declined to be identified due to the matter.

A spokesperson for the Singapore Ministry of Defence said that while attending the Shangri-La Dialogue, “participants, including senior officials from intelligence agencies, also take the opportunity to meet their counterparts.”

“The Singapore Ministry of Defence may reduce some of these bilateral or multilateral meetings,” the spokesperson said. “Participants have found such meetings held on the sidelines of the (dialogue) beneficial.”

The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand operate the Five Eyes network to collect and share a broad range of intelligence, and their intelligence officials meet frequently.

Larger meetings of the intelligence community are rarer and rarely publicized.

Although few details were known on the specific discussions in Singapore, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and transnational crime figured in the talks on Friday, the individual with knowledge of the discussions added. On Thursday, the intelligence chiefs held an informal meeting.

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The investigator heads from all over the world discuss in a private conclave in Singapore