Bulgarian MPs Kill Opposition Bill for Merging Civilian, Military Intelligence

Domestic | July 6, 2011, Wednesday // 15:19|  views

Former head of the Bulgarian National Intelligence Service Dimo Gyaurov, a MP from the Blue Coalition, had his intelligence merged killed by the MPs. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Parliament has rejected at first reading a bill of the rightist opposition to create a State Intelligence Agency, merging the existing military and civilian intelligence services.

The draft legislation was proposed by MPs Dimo Gyaurov, a former head of the National Intelligence Service in 1997-2003, and Ivan Kostov, former Prime Minister in 1997-2001, both from the rightist Blue Coalition.

It provided for uniting Bulgaria's National Intelligence Service and the Military Information Service at the Defense Ministry into a new intelligence agency.

The controversial bill was supported by only 16 MPs – from the Blue Coalition and the nationalist party Ataka, while 82 voted against and 33 abstained. The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party was firmly against, the opposition ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) abstained, while some of the MPs of the ruling center-right party GERB voted against, and some abstained.

According to Socialist MP Angel Naydenov from BSP, a potential merger of the two intelligence services is not only unnecessary but it threatens to kill the motivation of their staff, and to cause their agents to lose their informants.

"It is important to have legislation on the activities of these services but the debate needs to end in the Parliament, not to start here," GERB MP Vladimir Toshev warned, as cited by BTA, pointing out such a draft bill on the intelligence had a long way to go.

The Ataka party, which has been the staunchest supporter of the rulers GERB through an informal coalition, expressed indignation at the fact that the ruling party has not come up with a legislation on the intelligence services yet.

Gen. Dimo Gyaurov, one of the authors of the bill, stated that the draft legislation was a "provocation" towards the government in order to force GERB to come up with a bill of its own on the intelligence.

DPS deputy head Hristo Biserov declared that the ruling party has no idea about what to do in the field of intelligence, and that fact that several committees and subcommittees in Parliament monitor various aspects of the intelligence services allows for a lack of sufficient control.

The Blue Coalition draft law reminds of a project mulled in the spring of 2010 by Bulgaria's Defense Minister Anyu Angelov for the creation of a "Bulgarian CIA."

As early as May 2010, Bulgaria's Defense Minister proposed the merging of intelligence services to create a mega-structure of the CIA type, which will unite the military and the foreign intelligence. Currently, Bulgaria's military intelligence is controled by the Defense Ministry, while the National Intelligence Service is answerable to the President.

Back then Angelov said the new Bulgarian CIA would be created in a similar fashion to the State National Security Agency DANS, which is dubbed "the Bulgarian FBI"; DANS was set up in 2008 by merging three internal security and counter-intelligence institutions. Similarly to DANS, the new foreign intelligence structure will be under the control of the Cabinet rather than the President – an issue which has led to sparks between President Parvanov and the Borisov government.

The Bulgarian CIA might be created within 2 years in accordance with the country's new draft National Security Strategy.

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Tags: National Intelligence Service, Military Intelligence, counter-intelligence, DANS, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Anyu Angelov, National Security Council, Defense Minister, national security strategy, national security, Dimo Gyaurov, Ivan Kostov, Hristo Biserov, Angel Naydenov, Ataka, Blue Coalition, BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, DPS, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, GERB, Vladimir Toshev


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