SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Vojenské spravodajstvo

GIVEN that Slovakia has not been at war in a long time, it remains somewhat of a mystery what, exactly, its military intelligence (vojenské spravodajstvo) does.

GIVEN that Slovakia has not been at war in a long time, it remains somewhat of a mystery what, exactly, its military intelligence (vojenské spravodajstvo) does.

Yes, at any given time, a few dozen soldiers are on missions in conflict areas. And foreign spies may be interested in our territory.

But is this enough to justify the existence of an organisation rumoured to employ as many as 700 people?

Given that the Military Intelligence agency doesn’t publish any reports, it’s hard to judge its activities.

And the recent scandal concerning a report on the possible siphoning of agency funds into private hands reveals an even more troubling fact – that there is hardly anyone who can hold it accountable.

Prosecutors dealing with suspicions related to the secret service have suspiciously close ties to the service. The parliamentary committee charged with oversight has extremely limited powers.

And it is difficult to trust any internal investigations when it’s the agency’s bosses who are among the main suspects.

It’s never been easy to trust any of the state’s security or law enforcement agencies and there is no reason the intelligence community should be an exception.

They have always enjoyed a great deal of privacy, so it may come as something of a surprise when it becomes evident that the main war they are waging might be with themselves or the state budget.

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