WikiLeaks: Bulgarian President Runners Cautious about Sycophantic Intelligence Head

Diplomacy | October 26, 2011, Wednesday // 19:03|  views

Plevneliev (left) has a 10% lead before Kalfin (right) before the second round of the Bulgarian presidential elections. Photo by BGNES

A US diplomatic cable, shedding light on reshuffles in the leadership of Bulgaria's intelligence services was released by WikiLeaks and their Bulgarian partner, the site for investigative journalism

The cable, prepared by John Beyrle, US Ambassador to Bulgaria before going to Moscow, dated January 25, 2007, is titled LEADERSHIP CHANGES IMPROVE BULGARIAN INTELLIGENCE  SERVICES; MORE POLITICAL INFIGHTING POSSIBLE

In the cable, the Director of the National Intelligence Services (NIS) Gen. Kircho Kirov is labeled "sycophantic" with a "miserable leadership record." The appointment of the National Security Service (NSS, known in Bulgaria as National Agency for State Security, DANS) long time Deputy Head Ivan Drashkov as DANS Director is met with accolades. According to the cable, Drashkov is a true professional and a pro-Western career intelligence officer.

The cable also talks about the suicides of two high-ranking intelligence employees.

After releasing the cable, Bivol have contacted the three top runners in the presidential race in Bulgaria to inquire about their plans to deal with Gen. Kirov, who, the investigative journalists say, has 15-year-long career in the structures of the Communist intelligence services and has been trained on two occasions by the Soviet KGB.

Kirov was appointed Director of the National Intelligence Services in 2004 without been cleared to have access to classified NATO information, prompting German politicians to appeal to Bulgaria to stop spying on their country.

Shortly before the first round of the October 23 elections in Bulgaria, Bivol asked the presidential candidates the same question: "If you become president are you going to fire the sycophantic Kirov?"

There answers are as follow:

Ivaylo Kalfin, candidate of the opposition, left-wing Bulgarian Socialist party (BSP) former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Socialist-led Three-Way Coalition cabinet and a current Member of the European Parliament:

"I would not make staff decisions based on unconfirmed information from office correspondence of services of foreign countries. But I can assure you that I will assess very carefully professional and personal qualities of people I nominate and appoint within my authority as president."

Rosen Plevneliev, candidate of the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB), former Minister of Regional Development and Public Works:

"Without doubt, this is a question that can tempt one to give a fast and firm answer. The task of the president is to develop the institution and make it adequate to the times we live in. For this reason, I made the commitment to make sure we finally have a National Intelligence Services Act; to define clear and precise rules both for the work of NIS and its employees. On this base, we will reform NIS with the clear idea what we want it to look like, but taking into account the assessment of its past work.

Plevneliev and Kalfin are going to face each other at the runoff Sunday, which will decide who is going to become Bulgaria's next president.

Meglena Kuneva, independent presidential candidate, the first and now-ex-Bulgarian EU Commissioner, formerly from the party of ex King and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, National Movement for Stability and Prosperity, NMSP, had not provided an answer.

Kuneva ended third in the October 23 race.

The original text of the cable can be found HERE and HERE.

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Tags: NMSP, Meglena Kuneva, Georgi Parvanov, president, NIS, DANS, Ivan Drashkov, Gen. Kircho Kirov, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, GERB, Ivaylo Kalfin, Rosen Plevneliev, local elections, Presidential elections


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