Articles

Counterintelligence: a gate wide open

In Law, Politics on October 18, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka

(c) Petr Bokuvka

The Brno bureau of the Czech counterintelligence agency (BIS – http://www.bis.cz/en) is located right next to a Brno Transit Authority terminal which is served by one tram line and seven bus lines. One might find it odd that there is graffiti on the wall and the rear gate often remains open and unguarded for five minutes.

It is no secret that the building is used by BIS, even though there is no bronze sign on the front entrance or a warning do-not-enter sign on the five-foot fence. I interviewed the BIS spokesman for my article in the Metropol biweekly. He told me that the graffiti has been there for years and that it is possible that the vandal did not even know that it is in fact a BIS bureau.

On the other hand, several days ago the rear gate had remained open and unguarded for at least five minutes. Sure, the risk is very small – but it does exist theoretically. And the agency’s role is to pay attention to theoretical risks to the country as well. Its spokesman confirmed they were sure that the agency is still able to fulfill its legal role.

According to my information, due to the public budget cuts which are related to the global financial crisis the agency has been laying people off. In the case of this particular building, it should be about 30 percent of the original number of employees. Naturally, the agency cannot comment (confirm or deny) on the basis of the provisions of the act on the protection of classified information.

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