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Sobotka picks Koudelka to be secret service’s chief

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Prague, July 13 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) has proposed Michal Koudelka, 51, long-time officer of the BIS civilian counter-intelligence service, for the service’s new head, the server wrote on Wednesday.

The Chamber of Deputies security committee will deal with the proposal for the appointment of a new BIS chief on Thursday.

The current BIS head Jiri Lang, 58, asked for dismissal in a letter addressed to Sobotka after 13 years in the post, at the beginning of July.

Koudelka started serving in the BIS in 1994. He has headed the BIS counter-espionage section since 2006. Previously, he worked in the federal intelligence service.

Lang was appointed as BIS head in 2003.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) released the information about Lang’s request for departure in reaction to the media speculations about Lang being one of potential candidates for the National Security Office director.

Lang will keep heading the BIS until the cabinet selects his successor.

Under his management, the BIS faced some scandals.

In spring 2012, it was criticised for a suspected leak of wiretapping recordings of phone conversations between former Prague mayor Pavel Bem and lobbyist Roman Janousek.

The Mlada fronta Dnes daily has written that the BIS gained the wiretapping recordings in 2007 and two years later, they leaked to the ABL security agency that was then owned by Vit Barta, former head of the Public Affairs (VV) deputy group and ex-minister.

Lang’s departure from the BIS helm was discussed last autumn. In October, he was promoted from the rank of brigadier general to major general.

The BIS operates on the territory of the Czech Republic. Its task is to collect information about terrorism, extremism, illegal arms trading and the activities of foreign secret services in the country.

The BIS director is appointed by the government after a debate in the lower house security committee. The BIS chief is also accountable to the government that can dismiss him.

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