By William Tucker
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Officials of the Polish Ministry of Defense, along with military police, raided the Counterintelligence Center of Excellence Friday morning to remove the head of the center, Colonel Krzysztof Dusza. The officials returned later to do a more intensive sweep of the center, but it is unknown if anything of intelligence value was removed. NATO was involved with the center to an extent, however, the counterintelligence center was the brainchild of the governments in Warsaw and neighboring Slovakia. The center was due to expand with NATO’s full blessing and was slated to admit more members of the defense treaty organization.
At this point the raid appears more political than investigatory in nature. In late October Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) party won the parliamentary elections and have gone to great pains to remove any official, civilian or military, that they have deemed to be loyal to the previous majority party. Thus far in the reporting the PiS claimed that they had the backing of the Slovaks prior to removing Dusza.
Dusza did speak to the press after being barred from entering the center and claimed that the military police were order to enter not just the offices occupied by Polish officials, but Slovak as well. Dusza then stated that the offices were locked and the MP’s refused to force the doors open. Though the former head of the center wasn’t present during the raid it’s reasonable to expect that he still had access to some personnel and was able to gain some information regarding the raid. That said, his account hasn’t yet been independently verified.
The Counterintelligence Center of Excellence was conceived of just a few months ago and went into operation in September for former Soviet states to coordinate counterintelligence activities and training to protect against Russia’s aggressive collection efforts. After enduring multiple spy cases in the last few months it’s no surprise that Poland would look to start such an initiative especially with the interest of NATO. But it is not at all a good sign that the center has already become a political football. Russia presents a significant counterintelligence challenge and political infighting only serves to undermine such a worthy endeavor.
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