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According to CIA history, President Truman was responsible for the creation of the CIA, and according to the NYT, it was because of the unforseen attacks of Pearl Harbor.

The Starfleet charter states:

Article 14, Section 31 of the Charter made allowances for bending Starfleet regulations in times of extraordinary threat.

Right below that sentence on the wiki page it says:

This section was cited as the foundation for Section 31 even into the late 24th century.

So we have the why, but who created Section 31? Was there a specific individual or was it a committee?

  • Lily Sloane had the motivation, and her descendants could've stayed in the same line of work. – Gaultheria Jul 3 at 2:55
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The gist of Section 31 seems to be emergency powers combined with covert operations (and it's not unreasonable to assume Starfleet Intelligence is simply their public face, or at least highly related, given some of their equally clandestine activities later).

The major problem with Section 31 is that a lot of it has been written in retroactively (but not in a retcon way) so we just don't know the who. We know it existed in the nascent days of the Federation, but little about who actually set it up, or what it was meant to address. Remember, when we're first introduced to Section 31, they were highly secretive (DS9: Inquisition), but they've been less secretive at points in history (ST: Discovery season 2 deals a lot with them almost operating in the open, but only after a major war).

The only things we know for sure are

  1. It was written into the Federation Charter as Article 14, Section 31. Whether they were trying to create or sanction this type of organization is unclear, because we know little about who wrote the charter or exactly when. Sadly, Article 14, Section 31 makes up the bulk of what we do know.
  2. It was up and running in 2154 (20 - 30 years after the charter was established) when Section 31 had Doctor Phlox kidnapped (ENT: Divergence)

    ARCHER: Phlox was kidnapped. Starfleet would never authorise that.
    HARRIS [on monitor]: Reread the Charter, Article 14, Section 31. There are a few lines that make allowances for bending the rules during times of extraordinary threat.

  • I'm not sure you can use the fact that Section 31 of the Charter is cited as an excuse for an extraordinary action as proof of the existence of an organisation called Section 31 – Valorum Jul 3 at 18:56
  • While Memory Alpha may be suspect, they do state that the audio commentary for the episode Terra Prime (ENT Season 4 DVD set) does explicitly mention that this was a nascent Section 31, and not merely a coincidence. – Machavity Jul 3 at 23:36
  • That would be an excellent addition to the answer, especially if you can find a quote to back it up. MA isn't always accurate. – Valorum Jul 3 at 23:42
  • Small correction - it's part of the Starfleet charter, not the Federation charter. The quote you use at the end is from before the Federation existed. (As a real-world example, this is like saying something is in the United Nations charter, when you mean it's in the US Navy Charter) The Federation includes not just Starfleet (Earth based, human founded), but also the Vulcan Expeditionary Group (Vulcan based, Vulcan founded), and whatever the Benzite fleet was called (TNG S02E08 "A Matter of Honor") – Chronocidal Jul 5 at 15:48

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