Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi recently announced that Elisabetta Belloni will head the country’s secret service. She will report directly to the cabinet as per the official statement.
The Security Intelligence Department (DIS) is responsible for handling intelligence and security matters at home and abroad as well as counter-espionage and cybersecurity.
Belloni shot to limelight during 2004-2008 when she led the foreign ministry’s crisis, taking complete responsibility for operations involving Italians injured or killed abroad, whether in attacks or natural disasters. Reportedly, she was the first women to hold the position.
She also oversaw the case of freeing of La Repubblica correspondent Daniele Mastrogiacomo who was abducted in Afghanistan. Furthermore, she arranged for the search of Italian survivors when Thailand was hit by a tsunami in 2004.
Belloni’s, 62, most recent position —she was the first woman to occupy this post too— was the secretary general of the foreign ministry, the highest position a career diplomat can hold there.