Czech secret service: Russian intelligence service aiming to increase Czech opposition to US radar base

The Czech secret service BIS says the Russian intelligence service has attempted to contact and influence politicians and media outlets in the Czech Republic in order to increase public opposition to a planned US radar base. BIS makes the charge in its 2007 annual report, which was posted on its website on Thursday. The Czech secret service said Russia had tried to gain influence over politicians, state agencies and civic groups last year. BIS also said Russian spies had been gathering information in the business sphere and supporting Russian financial interests in the Czech Republic.

Reacting to Thursday’s news, the Chamber of Deputies security committee has called a meeting with the directors of the three Czech secret services next week. Committee chairman Jan Vidím said the agencies had not provided such clear information on the subject before.

The Czech Republic has agreed to the building of a US radar base, part of a global anti-missile defence system, in central Bohemia, with Czech lawmakers expected to vote on the matter later this year. Opinion polls have consistently suggested most Czechs are against the radar. Russia has threatened to aim missiles at the Czech Republic if the project goes ahead.

Author: Ian Willoughby