Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency

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The Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (Slovene: Slovenska obveščevalno-varnostna agencija; SOVA or Sova, lit. Owl) is the main civilian intelligence service in the Republic of Slovenia[1] and as a government agency is subordinated directly to Prime Minister of Slovenia. The mission of SOVA as the central intelligence and security service in the Republic of Slovenia is to provide for national security. The agency's headquarters are located at Stegne Street in Dravlje, northwest of Ljubljana's centre.

Its military counterpart is Intelligence and Security Service (Slovene: Obveščevalno-varnostna služba; OVS), part of Ministry of Defense.

History[edit]

SOVA traces its origins to State Security Service (Slovene: Uprava službe državne varnosti; SDV), which was formed in 1966 with renaming of State Security Administration. On 9 May 1991 service was renamed to Security and Information Service (Slovene: Varnostno-informativna služba; VIS). Final renaming to current name was done on 7 January 1993, and at the same time agency was transferred from Ministry of Internal Affairs to Government of Slovenia.[2]

Directors[edit]

Controversies[edit]

Tapping of Italian diplomat (1991)[edit]

Before Ten-Day War then VIS was tapping phone call between member of Slovenian Presidency Ciril Zlobec and Italian consul, during which Zlobec informed Italian of date of Slovenian Declaration of Independence.[5]

Tapping of opposition (1991−1993)[edit]

Under Brejc agency was tapping some leading members of LDS party.[5]

Black fund (2002−2006)[edit]

After Iztok Podbregar was replaced as director by new government in 2006, special investigation team under leadership of new Minister of Justice Lovro Šturm was formed with task of reviewing agency's activities. During this team found undocumented black fund, which was used for covering expanses for unconventional therapy of then-President Janez Drnovšek (who had cancer),[5] buying expensive retirement presents, establishment of companies,... Team also reveled that SOVA was tapping over 3000 foreign telephone numbers, and was also recording telephone conversations between Slovenian and Croatian PMs.[5]

Safe house exposed (2007)[edit]

In March 2007 daily newspaper Dnevnik exposed SOVA's safe house in center of Ljubljana, while writing about visit of SOVA's director Matjaž Šinkovec and PM's consultant Aleksander Lavrih in it.[6][7] After this agency's collaboration with German Bundesnachrichtendienst regarding telecommunications tapping in Western Balkans was also exposed.[5]

Exposed photos (2011)[edit]

In September 2011 about 80 photos of former UDBA agents with retired and current SOVA agents were published on several internet sites; photos were taken during picnic, while some agents were drunk and displaying communist symbols.[8] Among them was also Zvonko Hrastar, ex-agent (and husband of state prosecutor Branka Zobec Hrastar), who in 1988 arrested Janez Janša (future defense and prime minister) and with this started JBTZ trial.[9]

Expensive furniture (2012)[edit]

In March 2012 it was reviled that former director Sebastjan Selan ordered expensive furniture (in excess of 112 000 €) for executive-level 5-bedroom apartment, which was intended for international meetings on high level. This was done while government was imposing budget cutbacks.[5] New director Damir Črnčec discontinued use of apartment and ordered an internal review.[10]

Accusations of political bias (2013)[edit]

In January 2013, the Commission for the prevention of corruption of the Republic of Slovenia received an indictment, that was sent also to the President of the Republic, and to parliamentary Commission for Supervision of Intelligence and Security Services, the agency may be politically biased because after 2011 the leading positions were taken by members of Janez Janša's political party Slovenian Democratic Party.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sova.gov.si - About us
  2. ^ (Slovene) Sova.gov.si - Zgodovina (In Slovene: History)
  3. ^ (Slovene) Delo.si - Vlada nepričakovano razrešila direktorja Sove
  4. ^ (Slovene) Večer: Prve vladne kadrovske čistke, razrešili direktorja Sove
  5. ^ a b c d e f (Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Kadrovski prepihi v Sovi: Direktorji za kratek čas in za kratkočasje tajne službe (In Slovene: "Personal Turmoil in SOVA: Directors for short-while and for short time of secret service"), 24 March 2012
  6. ^ (Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Janezu Janši lahko prisluškuje samo tehnični genij (In Slovene: "Only genius can eavesdrop on Janez Janša"), 21 April 2007
  7. ^ (Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Obletnica Dnevnikovega razkritja: Po letu dni afera Sova še vedno brez epiloga, (In Slovene: "Anniversary of Dnevnik's expose: After one year still without epilogue in Sovagate"), 21 March 2008
  8. ^ (Slovene) Reporter.si - Pijani tajni agenti Sove na udba.net?, (In Slovene: "Drunk secret agents on udba.net"), 6 September 2011
  9. ^ (Slovene) Politikis.si - Še vedno se družijo! 80 fotografij bivših udbašev; direktno iz seznama Udba.net, (In Slovene: "They are still socializing! 80 photos of former agents of UDBA; straight from Udba.net list"), 4 September 2011
  10. ^ (Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Novi direktor je prepovedal uporabo stanovanja Sove v Ljubljani
  11. ^ (Slovene) Mladina.si - An Intrusion of the Members of SDS into Sova (In Slovene: "Vdor kadrov SDS v Sovo"), 18 January 2013

External links[edit]