Poland’s intelligence watchdog chief says 52 journalists were spied on

ABW PolandOver 50 journalists and their contacts were systematically spied on by the Polish intelligence services between 2007 and 2015, according to the former director of an anti-corruption watchdog. Until 2009, Mariusz Kamiński led the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, which was set up by the office of the Polish Prime Minister in 2006 to address corruption in the country. The body is also responsible for monitoring the operations of Poland’s intelligence services, including the Internal Security Agency (ABW).

Kamiński made the spying allegation on Wednesday at the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish Parliament, during a parliamentary hearing held to assess the performance of the previous government. He said that dozens of journalists of all political persuasions had been illegally spied on by the ABW between 2007 and 2015, on direct orders by the previous government. He was referring to the administrations of Donald Tusk and Ewa Kopacz, who held successive prime ministerial posts until last year. The two politicians represented a center-left alliance between the Civic Platform (PO) and the Polish People’s Party (PSL), which ruled Poland from 2007 to 2015. But Kamiński, who is currently a member of the Sejm elected with the governing Law and Justice party (PiS), claimed that, under Tusk and Kopacz’s watch, the ABW spied on prominent journalists, their families and their contacts, secretly photographing them and tapping their telephones in order to see who they communicated with. He also claimed that the ABW spied on him and his colleagues at the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau in an attempt to intimidate them.

The center-right Law and Justice Party (PiS), which Kamiński represents at the Sejm, rose to power in October of last year after gaining a majority in both houses of the Polish Parliament. It had remained in opposition from 2007 to 2015, while the PO-PSL alliance governed the country. In his presentation, Kamiński claimed that the current center-right administration is “not placing anyone under surveillance due to their political views”, as these types of illegal activities would “directly violate freedom of speech and democracy” in Poland. At the end of his talk, Kamiński presented a list of journalists’ names who were allegedly targeted by the ABW. But opposition politicians dismissed Kamiński’s charges as being politically motivated and said they aimed to discredit the previous administration.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 12 May 2016 | Permalink

Comment: Russian Espionage Steals 2010 Limelight

GRU emblem

GRU emblem

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end, few would dispute that Israeli and American spy agencies have been among the most talked-about intelligence organizations of 2010. The reasons for this are equally undeniable: the United States tops the list because of its political prominence, which inevitably attracts media attention; Israel tops it because of the sheer ferocity of its espionage output throughout the Middle East. And yet there is nothing new about this, since neither the Central Intelligence Agency nor the Mossad are exactly novices when it comes to high-profile media exposures. The same cannot be said with respect to Russian intelligence agencies, which went through a period of prolonged hibernation following the end of the Cold War. Indeed, the year that is about to end demonstrates that the stagnant interlude in Russian espionage may well be in its closing stages.

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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. Read more of this post

Polish officials reveal arrest of alleged Russian spy

Valentin Korabelnikov

V. Korabelnikov

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Polish government has announced the arrest of a Russian resident of Warsaw, on charges of spying for Russia. The man, whose identity has not been released, was apparently arrested last February or March, after a six-month surveillance operation by Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW). Polish officials did not say why the arrest was kept secret for so long, but revealed that the alleged spy’s capture was known only to Poland’s president, the prime minister and the office of the prosecutor. The alleged spy is said to be a Russian citizen and a fluent Polish speaker, who has lived in Poland under permanent residency status for at least decade. His legal income appears to have come from his ownership of a hunting-rifle accessories store. Read more of this post

Polish agency report refutes Russian link in shooting incident

On the evening of November 23, automatic gunfire erupted about 100 feet away from a motorcade carrying Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia, and Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland. The latter was on a state visit to the former Soviet Republic. Nobody was hurt during the incident. Saakashvili was quick to blame Russian forces stationed in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, saying at a subsequent press conference that Russian troops are manned with “unpredictable people [who] weren’t happy to see our guest and they weren’t happy to see me either”. Read more of this post