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Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.
* provide analysis in areas relevant to national security;
* give early warning of impending crises;
* serve national and international crisis management by helping to discern the intentions of current or potential opponents;
* inform national defense planning and military operations;
* protect secrets, both of their own sources and activities, and those of other state agencies; and
* may act covertly to influence the outcome of events in favor of national interests
Intelligence agencies are also involved in defensive activities such as counter-espionage or counter-terrorism.
Some agencies are accused of being involved in assassination, arms sales, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.