By William Tucker
Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security
Polish authorities announced the arrest of two individuals accused of engaging in espionage. The nation backing the alleged spies wasn’t publicly named; however, sources close to the investigation have hinted at Russian involvement.
Names of the accused have yet to be released, but authorities did state that one was a civilian – a Polish-Russian lawyer – and the other was an officer in the Polish military. Authorities further stated that the two suspects were uncovered through separate investigations, but counterintelligence officials are likely to investigate the possibility of a connection between the two.
At the time of the arrests, Tomasz Siemoniak, Poland’s defense minister, revealed on Twitter that Wednesday was “an important day in the fight for purity in the Polish army.” He further stated that a drug-dealing ring had been broken up as well. Announcing the disruption of drug-related criminal activity in addition to the disclosure of two espionage arrests doesn’t seem coincidental and may hint at a wider connection between the parallel investigations.
Counterintelligence investigations are ongoing in the apprehension of a suspect. Because this investigation is centered on an insider threat, commonly known as a mole, law enforcement and intelligence activities take time to carry out risk and damage assessments to better understand what information was compromised. Once these assessments are done, changes are made where applicable and exploited security measures are modified or completely replaced.
Naturally, the investigation will also look at why the alleged information transfer was targeted in the first place. Poland will try to answer the question of whether this conspiracy was targeting something specific, or if it was a broad-based collection effort. Taking time to investigate and understand this element will provide insight to the Polish and allied intelligence agencies into Russian activities.
Poland has been very vocal in condemning Russian actions in Europe, and it is very possible that Moscow would want to know what level of covert support is being provided to Ukraine among other concerns. The coverts operations between Russian and Western aligned nations is certainly heating up. More situations like this are bound to happen.
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