Prague, Jan 5 (CTK) – Czech secret services might start to be controlled not only by judges, as originally planned, but also deputy ministers and state attorneys, according to the government´s draft bill on the supervision of intelligence services, the text of which CTK has at its disposal.
The bill is to newly introduce control over the civilian intelligence service (UZSI). At present, lawmakers can only supervise the civilian counter-intelligence service (BIS) and the military intelligence (VZ) service, which fulfils both intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks.
The centre-left cabinet of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) pledged to enhance the control of the three intelligence services in its policy statement in early 2014.
The draft bill was first presented to lawmakers by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) in July.
Its text has been partly rewritten by the working group that prepares the bill and that met before Christmas.
According to the draft´s latest wording, a new, five-member controlling body would supervise the services parallelly with the Chamber of Deputies.
Its members would be chosen by the Chamber of Deputies on the government´s proposal. According to the original plan, the members were to be chosen from among judges, but the latest version also opens the controlling body to state attorneys, deputy ministers and members of the Supreme Audit Office board.
Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (KDU-CSL) has told CTK that he supports the extension of the range of potential candidates.
He said a debate was conducted on whether they should have a security vetting certificate for the strictly classified level.
Belobradek said the working group will probably meet once again in January before submitting the bill to the cabinet.
The bill says the controlling body cannot be joined by soldiers, police officers, deputies, senators or the president.
The body´s members would have to be at least 40 years old, university graduates, and professional experience would be required from candidates from among judges, state attorneys and deputy ministers.
The controlling body would only meet on request. Otherwise, its members would work in their usual professions. They would receive a monthly remuneration of 15,000 crowns in addition to their salaries, the draft bill suggests.
The controlling body would be able to check both cases that intelligence services closed and those still under investigation. The results of the checks would be strictly classified.
($1=24.794 crowns)