Czech Intelligence Rejects President's Criticism On Reports Of Russian, Chinese Spies
By RFE/RL December 07, 2018
The Czech Security Intelligence Service (BIS) has rejected President Milos Zeman's accusations that it is giving him "wrong" data about intensification of spying activities in the country by Russia and China.
Zeman on December 6 publicly doubted the annual report by the BIS, which concluded that Moscow and Beijing have intensified their spying operations in the Czech Republic.
Zeman also said the quality of the BIS's work was deteriorating.
The BIS report issued on December 3 said Russian and Chinese spies in the country were working out of their embassies in Prague.
BIS chief Michal Koudelka said on December 7 that his service "has never been as successful as it has been in the last several years," adding that in the last five years, the service had prevented dozens of Russian and Chinese intelligence officers from operating on Czech territory either by refusing to accredit them or forcing them leave the country "quietly."
Zeman said the BIS failed to provide evidence of specific Russian or Chinese espionage activities.
He also accused the BIS of failing to uncover any Islamic "terrorists" in the Czech Republic, despite what he said was confirmation of their existence by law enforcement.
Zeman used slang words, describing the report as "gibberish" or "blather" and the intelligence officers as "bozos."
Koudelka said his agency broke a Russian spying network earlier this year and completely paralyzed its activities.
"According to our Israeli and U.S. colleagues, we are among the most effective services in Europe," Koudelka said.
Zeman is known for his pro-Russian and pro-Chinese views.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his government, as well as opposition politicians, have rejected Zeman's criticism.
With reporting by AP
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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