New chief clears intelligence service

Jozef Magala, the new head of the Slovak Information Service (SIS), has dismissed most of the major functionaries of the preceding administration, according to the daily SME.

Jozef Magala, the new head of the Slovak Information Service (SIS), has dismissed most of the major functionaries of the preceding administration, according to the daily SME.

At a closed meeting with the members of the parliamentary supervision committee for the SIS on August 3, Magala informed legislators of his initial steps in office, yet refused to elaborate when questioned by journalists.

"I dismissed several functionaries and did so for good reason. Just read what's been in the newspapers for the last few years and you'll see [why I did it] but I cannot give you the details," Magala told media.

He insisted that the dismissed functionaries had not been fulfilling their duties.

The SIS has been suspected of involvement in several scandals, including the wiretapping of the offices of the SME daily during the Mikuláš Dzurinda government. Just recently, an SIS agent codenamed Kováčová was filmed snooping around a Special Court while allegedly trying to find information about an on-going corruption case.

While the SIS was led by Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) member Ivan Lexa, the service was also suspected of kidnapping the former president's son and commissioning the murder of a go-between to the key witness in the case.

SME also wrote that Magala has refused to name Igor Urban, a Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) nominee, as his secretary, saying he prefers to make hiring decisions himself. According to the agreement made by the leaders of the coalition parties, however, HZDS as well as the Slovak National Party (SNS) both have a right to nominate their people as SIS secretaries.

Urban was the head of a special parliamentary committee for the SIS when Ivan Lexa headed the service under the 1994-1998 Vladimír Mečiar government. According to SME, the HZDS is outraged by the decision.


-Martina Jurinová

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