THE MILITARY Intelligence Service (VOS), a unit of Slovakia’s Defence Ministry, undertook wiretapping when it was not needed, said Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, as she presented the preliminary results of a parliamentary inquiry, the SITA newswire reported.
“They [VOS] used wiretapping even when other information on the person under surveillance would have been sufficient,” Radičová said at a press conference held on December 7, as quoted by SITA.
The prime minister, who is also serving as interim defence minister, stated that most of the actions by VOS did not relate to its primary functions under the law but rather on investigating its own operations and leaks from within, adding that the internal control system had been altered so that wide-ranging leaks of information became possible.
“We made the first step by making the entire system dysfunctional so that leaks cannot continue,” Radičová stated, as quoted by SITA.
Radičová also pointed out that this situation proved that Slovakia does not need the number of intelligence services it currently has, saying that the country has “triplicate actions in three secret services”, SITA wrote.
Ľubomír Galko, the former defence minister who was dismissed by Radičová, stated that the parliamentary inquiry only showed that all wiretapping was done in accordance with the law, adding that the prime minister had explained nothing and that the parliamentary inquiry could be summarised as “we were searching, found nothing, but we will keep on trying”, SITA wrote.
The Slovak media also published stories indicating that the VOS was preparing to wiretap Erik Tomáš, spokesman for the opposition Smer party. Some MPs confirmed that they had seen a document with the request to start wiretapping Tomáš that was similar to requests involving the journalists who had been wiretapped, the Sme daily reported.
“I can neither confirm nor deny it,” said MP Martin Fedor, the chair of the parliamentary committee for defence and security, as quoted by Sme.
Galko stated that he knew nothing about an intention to wiretap Tomáš and stressed that it would also be confidential information that MPs should not talk about.
“If it [the Sme report] is true, it means that confidential information is still leaking from the VOS, even thanks to MPs,” Galko stated, as quoted by Sme.
Radičová removed Pavol Brychta as VOS director on December 2 and replaced him with Róbert Tibenský, the TASR newswire reported.
Brychta and other unnamed VOS employees have been released from their obligation of confidentiality so that they can provide testimony in the ongoing investigation.
12. Dec 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff