Allegations Poland's Military Intelligence infiltrated the media

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Information leaked from an unpublished report on Poland's recently abolished military intelligence service suggests that over a hundred of its agents attempted to take control of the media in Poland after the fall of communism. The report is to be made public by the Polish President shortly as part of the conservative government's present campaign of getting rid of ex-communist influence.

The revelations were aired in the news service of TVP Channel One and Three. Allegations were made that at least 115 agents of the former WSI military intelligence had been assigned tasks of infiltrating high executive posts and decision making ranks not only within public media, but also commercial broadcasters in Poland.

This information was to have come from a top secret report on the liquidation of WSI last fall by a specially appointed team headed by Antoni Macierewicz, a well known opposition activist from the Communist period and one time Interior Minister in the short lived conservative cabinet of PM Jan Olszewski in the early 'Nineties. Earlier, several names of media related people contained in the report on WSI had been leaked with extensive information on their alleged collaborative activities. The latest leak from the special report has been criticised by the head of the President's Office Andrzej Szczyglo who has no doubts the person responsible should be brought to justice.

Szczyglo: "The report carries a top secret seal and each person disseminating information from it must be ready to accept responsibility for breaking the law."

National Prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek also declared his services are obliged to act immediately.

"Those are secret documents, so having knowledge about the fact, the Prosecutors Office has an obligation to launch an investigation. We cannot pass over this in indifference."

The report on the liquidation of the WSI military intelligence is to be made public by President Lech Kaczynski. Why then all the effort undertaken to leak part of its content? Andrzej Krajewski, media expert from the Batory Foundation, sees two reasons for this hasty action.

"First of all, there is a project for change in the Lustration law (vetting of Communist collaborators) in Parliament filed by the President and discussion is going on. Probably, a kind of setting up of the agenda of 'ever present' agents will help in blocking this project. This is one possibility. Another is to heat up the atmosphere before the publication, because the publication will have just dry names."

The former military intelligence service is described by many as a hermetic organization, acting according to self imposed rules which were to secure the interests of a small post-Communist group. These actions were often conducted counter to binding laws and state interests. Andrzej Krajewski says that unveiled evidence points to many serious actions undertaken by the former WSI intelligence service being illegal and worthy of moral contempt. But the present information leaks have more short term gains set as targets.

Krajewski: "It is necessary to show somehow that behind these names there were special plots or organized thinking. In this sense, I doubt very much whether it was at all possible to set up very effective network of controlling the media even in the beginning of the 'Nineties, not mentioning the media now. Which is exactly the idea people are trying to sell by leaking this information."

Meanwhile, representatives of both ruling and opposition parties have commented with restraint on the weight of the leaked allegations. Most agree that a valid evaluation of the information contained in the report on the liquidation of the WSI military intelligence service can be made only after its official release by the President.