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MfD: Czechs lack career system for top police posts

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Prague, Aug 21 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has no career system for the occupation of some top posts in the police and the army, Andor Sandor has written in daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) in relation to the fact that Jiri Lang is leaving the post of BIS counter-intelligence head after 13 years.

Lang is still young to get retired. It is a question what job he should do after heading the most powerful secret service in the country for many years. The state should find a position for such a person who had access to classified information and possibly ban him from working in the private sector, Sandor, a security analyst and former military intelligence chief, writes.

It is sad that, so many years after the fall of the communist regime, the country fails to have a career system in which top posts such as the chief-of-staff or police president would be occupied by people who would go into retirement afterwards, Sandor writes.

Such a career system should generate people who proved their absolute loyalty to the country and its citizens in order to minimize the risk of them abusing the information they gain in the post. These people would be less dependent on politics because they would not have to take their future professional career into account, Sandor writes.

It is odd when a police president in the rank of general is replaced and becomes a regional police chief because he cannot get retired yet, Sandor says.

The replacement of the BIS director was smooth and cultivated and the Czech public was not confronted with clashing interests of political parties, unlike in the recent police shake-up, Sandor writes.

It is very unusual for an intelligence chief to keep the post for 13 years in democratic countries where intelligence chiefs usually leave after four years. Lang is not to blame for staying in the post so long, however, Sandor writes.

The counter-intelligence BIS has always been a sensitive issue. This is why it was subordinate to the whole government because politicians failed to agree on which minister would be in charge of it. But this is not a good solution, Sandor writes.

The military intelligence was subject to the Defence Ministry. The civilian intelligence UZSI was subject to the Interior Ministry, although it mostly worked for the Foreign Ministry, which is rather unfortunate because the interior deals with domestic affairs, while the UZSI operates abroad, Sandor says.

Moreover, each of the intelligence services has its own service law and these laws are not very compatible, he writes.

Sandor praises the decision to set up a small group of highly respected persons who might have access to all intelligence files, if needed, including open cases. This group might say whether a secret service violated law if there is any controversy that might harm the reputation of the intelligence, Sandor writes.

However, if the selection of the members of this group is bad or manipulated by politics, the desirable controlling instrument might become a complete failure, he says.

Sandor challenges the demand of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka that former professional soldiers, intelligence and police officers not be members of the group. He says at least one of the group should be well acquainted with the standard procedures that the intelligence applies.

Among possible targets of terrorist attacks are not only airports and subway and train stations but also components of the electrical grid. The electric power transmission network may also face cyber attacks. It would be therefore advisable if state-run firms operating the network would be among the recipients of the intelligence reports, Sandor writes.

This would apply also to other elements of the critical infrastructure of the country, he says.

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