Petr Dubinsky

Czech Intel Chief Rejects Zeman Wiretap Claim

Michal Koudelka, Acting Director of the Security Information Service (BIS), today categorically rejected the accusations made by President Miloš Zeman in an address before the House counterintelligence committee. After about an hour of meetings, its chairman Pavel Bělobrádek (KDU-ČSL) told the press. 

Koudelka stated that the BIS had not violated its legal obligations. He also confirmed that during his leadership none of the highest constitutional officials had been intercepted or that he had not experienced pressure to end monitoring, the commission stated. On the contrary, the President’s Office today accused Koudelka of long-term violations of the law and misusing counterintelligence intelligence to gather information for her own use.

“It was also made clear that no coercion was exerted on Colonel Koudelka by the Prime Minister, which would relate to the above-mentioned cases, but in fact no other ones,” Bělobrádek added to the wording of the resolution. The representative of the ANO movement in the commission, Robert Králíček, emphasized that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) did not put pressure on Koudelka to stop any operational screening of persons.

In an interview with Blesk on Sunday, the president accused the director of the BIS of ordering the interception of people from his immediate surroundings, including economic adviser Martin Nejedlý, a few years ago. Because he himself does not have a telephone and uses the phones of co-workers, according to Zeman, the interceptions also concern him. He also said that he had contacted the prime minister because of the matter, who later told him that he had stopped the wiretaps. According to the president, his chancellor Vratislav Mynář was also present. Grandma denied it on Tuesday. “I can state that these are allegations against the allegations on the one hand of the Prime Minister and director of the BIS and on the other hand of the president,” said Bělobrádek when asked by journalists whether anyone lied.

The Commission finally adopted a three-point resolution. In it, he states that Koudelka confirmed that none of the highest constitutional officials had been intercepted during his tenure as director. According to the second paragraph of the resolution, Koudelka informed that there had never been pressure from the Prime Minister on his person to end the operational investigation of any person. In the third point, the commission states that there are no indications that the BIS used intelligence technology in violation of the BIS law.

The commission’s meeting was closed, and the legal framework for wiretapping was discussed. Bělobrádek said after him that if someone from the BIS requests wiretaps, the chairman of the senate of the High Court in Prague allows it. In the event that a call of a specific person that is not related to the intercepted number is recorded, it is deleted. The permit must be in writing and covers all intelligence. The wiretapping permit is valid for four months, after which the reporters must apply again.

He also said that in the event of allegations of information leakage, the BIS is investigating the suspicion. “Yes, it was said to be being checked,” he said.

Zeman is a long-time critic of BIS and Koudelka. He repeatedly refused to promote the head of counterintelligence to the rank of general and in many cases questioned the quality of the BIS’s work. The president tried not to keep Koudelka at the head of the secret service, but the cabinet instructed Koudelka to lead the BIS provisionally even after August 15, when his term ended. The decision should be made by the government, which will emerge from the October parliamentary elections.

According to the lawyer Jan Kysela, there is no definition of constitutional officials. “Constitutional officials are those described in the constitution. There you will find deputies, senators, members of the government, president of the republic, judge of the Constitutional Court, judge. that representatives of municipalities may be included depends on the chosen criterion. The four highest constitutional officials are referred to as the president, prime minister, and heads of both parliamentary chambers. Kysela considers this inaccurate.