«We are never satisfied!»
In our work, we care about our country’s security and the protection of fundamental rights. As professionals, but also as human beings, we must be able to weigh our choices every day. This is to ensure that everyone acts correctly and that every citizen can trust that their fundamental rights will be respected. If we as employees of the oversight authority were not able to pay as much attention to fundamental rights as to security in our work, we would be in the wrong place. However, it is not enough to recognise and adhere to positive values – it also takes curiosity, determination, courage and foresight.
The work of an oversight authority begins by asking questions, especially about risks. These questions awaken our curiosity and we start an audit, which we can only successfully complete with great determination. This is because we must courageously defend our criticisms and our recommendations so that mistakes are corrected and intelligence activities are always carried out within the legal boundaries. Thanks to foresight, we always start each new audit cycle from scratch, with new questions, which we then in turn approach in a spirit of curiosity, determination and courage.
But even this is not enough.
The intelligence services are under our supervision, but they do not work just to answer our questions. They work day and night in the service of our country’s security. They take risks every day, including the risk of making mistakes. This is why our commitment and professionalism are required to ensure that we carry out our audits in the right way, in the right place and at the right time. We have to make sure that intelligence work – at least for us – is not an unknown world full of secrets. For us, everything must be clear and transparent. Every day we strive and educate ourselves so that we can enter this world competently.
Is this sufficient now?
Absolutely not! Day after day, we focus on our questions and on the people who work to ensure Switzerland’s security. But we also have a duty to the people who have given us this oversight mandate: the citizens. We must be able to prove that we do our work seriously and competently. After all, we examine intelligence activities on behalf of every person in this country who cannot do it themselves. We want you, as a citizen, to read our activity report and see for yourself that we are never satisfied and do not let problems stop us. As you read this report, feel free to send us your feedback and questions.
As the new director of the oversight authority, I work for each and every one of you. We all do.
Prisca Fischer, OA-IA Director