Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency

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The Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (Slovene: Slovenska obveščevalno-varnostna agencija; SOVA or Sova, pronounced [ˈsɔ̀ːʋa];[1] lit. Owl) is the main civilian intelligence service in the Republic of Slovenia[2] 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 when Slovenia was still within Yugoslavia, 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 17. june 1993, and at the same time agency was transferred from Ministry of Internal Affairs to Government of Slovenia.[3]

Directors[edit]

Controversies[edit]

Tapping of Italian diplomat (1991)[edit]

Before the Ten-Day War the then VIS recorded a phone call between a member of the Slovenian Presidency Ciril Zlobec and the Italian consul, during which Zlobec informed the Italian consul of the date of the Slovenian Declaration of Independence.[6]

Tapping of opposition (1991−1993)[edit]

Under the Brejc period some leading members of the LDS party.[6] were recorded.

Black fund (2002−2006)[edit]

After Iztok Podbregar was replaced as director by the new government in 2006, a special investigation team under the leadership of the new Minister of Justice Lovro Šturm was formed with the task of reviewing the agency's activities. This team found an undocumented black fund, which was used for covering expanses for unconventional therapy of then-President Janez Drnovšek (who had cancer),[6] buying expensive retirement presents, establishment of companies,... This team also revealed that SOVA was tapping over 3000 foreign telephone numbers, and was also recording telephone conversations between the Slovenian and Croatian Prime Ministers.[6]

Safe house exposed (2007)[edit]

In March 2007, the daily newspaper Dnevnik exposed SOVA's safe house in the centre of Ljubljana, while writing about visit of SOVA's director Matjaž Šinkovec and PM's consultant Aleksander Lavrih in it.[7][8] After this agency's collaboration with German Bundesnachrichtendienst regarding telecommunications tapping in Western Balkans was also exposed.[6]

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; these photos were taken during a picnic, while some agents were drunk and displaying communist symbols.[9] 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.[10]

Expensive furniture (2012)[edit]

In March 2012 it was revealed that former director Sebastjan Selan ordered expensive furniture (in excess of €112,000) for his executive-level 5-bedroom apartment, which was intended for high level international meetings. This was done while the government was imposing budget cutbacks.[6] The new director Damir Črnčec discontinued his use of the apartment and ordered an internal review.[11]

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 also sent 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.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Slovenski pravopis 2001: Sova".
  2. ^ Sova.gov.si - About us Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ (in Slovene) Sova.gov.si - Zgodovina Archived 2013-04-19 at the Wayback Machine (In Slovene: History)
  4. ^ (in Slovene) Delo.si - Vlada nepričakovano razrešila direktorja Sove
  5. ^ (in Slovene) Večer: Prve vladne kadrovske čistke, razrešili direktorja Sove
  6. ^ a b c d e f (in 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
  7. ^ (in Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Janezu Janši lahko prisluškuje samo tehnični genij (In Slovene: "Only genius can eavesdrop on Janez Janša"), 21 April 2007
  8. ^ (in 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
  9. ^ (in Slovene) Reporter.si - Pijani tajni agenti Sove na udba.net? Archived 2013-04-18 at Archive.today, (In Slovene: "Drunk secret agents on udba.net"), 6 September 2011
  10. ^ (in 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
  11. ^ (in Slovene) Dnevnik.si - Novi direktor je prepovedal uporabo stanovanja Sove v Ljubljani
  12. ^ (in 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]