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Czech President's Call For List Of Russian Spies Triggers Security Concerns

November 30, 2020

Czech President Milos Zeman has reportedly demanded a list of all Russian spies active in the Czech Republic, which security experts say could endanger secret sources of the Czech counterintelligence service.

Czech public broadcaster Cesky Rozhlas reported on November 30 that Zeman had made the request to Michal Koudelka, director of the Security Intelligence Service (BIS).

It said Zeman also called on the BIS to provide him with documentation about all known Russian intelligence operations in the Czech Republic.

Zeman, who has often expressed pro-Russian views and is seen as being friendly to Moscow, has not commented on the report.

In the past, Zeman has accused his own intelligence service of incompetence.

Czech lawmakers said on November 30 that committees from both chambers of parliament would discuss the matter.

The chairman of the Senate Security Committee, Pavel Fischer, said Zeman's requests could threaten the security of the state.

"Parliament has a role to play. We will discuss this immediately in the Senate Security Committee," Fischer tweeted.

Former Interior Minister Frantisek Buhlan said on November 30 that releasing such information to Zeman "would put a lot of people and running operations in danger."

Buhlan said there was no reason for the Czech president to receive the information.

The BIS has reported for years about increased activity by Russian spies in the Czech Republic, saying they targeted European Union countries and members of the NATO alliance. However, the BIS has released few concrete details about Russian espionage activities in the country.

Based on reporting by dpa and Cesky Rozhlas

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/czech-president -call-for-list-of-russian-spies-triggers- security-concerns/30976843.html

Copyright (c) 2020. 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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