Did missing Polish intel officer defect to Russia?

Stefan Zielonka

Stefan Zielonka

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
We have been keeping an eye on the mysterious case of Stefan Zielonka, a senior SIGINT officer with Poland’s Military Intelligence Services (SWW), who disappeared without trace in early May of 2009. The seriousness of Zielonka’s disappearance stems from his extensive knowledge of Polish undercover intelligence networks operating overseas, including names and contacts of illegals –i.e. agents operating without diplomatic cover. Consequently, Polish intelligence officials have expressed fears that, if Zielonka defected, or was kidnapped by foreign intelligence agents, “much of the country’s intelligence network could be compromised”. The possibility that Zielonka actually defected increased after it became known that his wife and young child also disappeared. In December, a report in Poland’s Dziennik Gazeta Prawna claimed that the signals intelligence officer’s mysterious disappearance is connected with a “trail leading to the Far East”, with “all clues lead[ing] to China”. Earlier this week, however, Russian weekly Argumenti Niedieli suggested that Zielonka was in fact recruited by Russian military intelligence. This was the original theory behind the SIGINT officer’s disappearance, to which intelNews alluded when we first reported the story. It is worth pointing out, however, that Polish intelligence sources dismiss this theory, in favor of the purported Chinese link. Instead, they explain Argumenti Niedieli’s claim as an attempts by Russian intelligence services to strike back at Poland after the arrest of a Russian illegal in Warsaw. The unidentified man was detained in 2009 by Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW), but his arrest was announced earlier this month.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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