Czech Happenings (Czech Republic), 11 January 2015
Czech counter-intelligence should be reinforced – PM Sobotka
Prague/Paris – The Czech counter-intelligence BIS should be reinforced financially and also in terms of personnel, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists after today´s anti-terrorism march in Paris.
He said previous governments made cuts in the budget of the Security Information Service (BIS), which lowered its capacity. This must be redressed, Sobotka added.
In connection with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Sobotka said cooperation between the Czech secret services is working well now.
He said the capacity of the secret services, including the BIS, must be gradually reinforced just as the military is being gradually propped up after years of cuts.
The aim is to “prepare the Security Information Service for the currently threatening risks,” Sobotka said.
He said people should feel sure that the state and the security forces are capable of reacting to similar risks.
Sobotka said the cuts forced the BIS to reduce staff and the redressing of the situation will not be easy and it will probably take several years.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) said on public Czech Television (CT) today it may take up to ten years to train a quality agent.
“I would like the BIS director to draft a plan for two to three years aimed at reinforcing the BIS´s capacity and at its modernisation to guarantee to citizens the maximal possible degree of security,” Sbotoka said.
Sobotka said it is important to show that the Czech Republic is part of the solidarity wave.
Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) represented the Czech Republic at a demonstration of more than a million people in support of freedom of speech and unity in the anti-terrorism struggle in reaction to the recent murder by Islamists of 12 people from the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly that carried caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
On Thursday another gunman shot dead a female police officer and one day later he raided a kosher supermarket where four people died. The police killed all three terrorists.
Zaoralek said not all Muslims may be blamed for the attacks and he pointed to the historically recent behaviour of Europeans towards the Jews.
“It is necessary that we take a lesson from the experience of European countries, that we do not repeat their mistakes and where immigration is concerned, that we support such migration that will come from the countries that are close to us in terms of culture and religion,” Sobotka said.
He also said he briefly spoke to French President Francois Hollande and to his French counterpart Manuel Valls and that he expressed the Czechs´ support for and solidarity with France.
Valls previously admitted mistakes made by the French secret services.
The demonstration today was participated in by politicians from dozens of European and other countries.
Written by: ČTK