NBU inquiry reveals severe shortcomings in security vetting procedure
The Czech Republic's security apparatus has at times looked very rickety indeed. The latest revelations, about the country's security vetting agency, the National Security Office or NBU, will have come as no surprise. An internal inquiry into malpractice at the NBU unveiled severe shortcomings which could have jeopardised the country's national security.
The inquiry was set up to examine allegations of mismanagement at the NBU under the leadership of former director Tomas Kadlec between 1999 and 2002. The inquiry was completed last year, and the report given to Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek in September. In March the findings were handed to the parliamentary watchdog which monitors the NBU. Only now has the inquiry been made public, thanks to an anti-corruption NGO with the wonderful name of the Pink Panther, which has leaked a copy to the Czech News Agency.
The problem is because the NBU was - at least according to this internal inquiry- so incapable of vetting other people, it was also incapable of vetting itself. And that, say organisations like the Pink Panther, allowed for corruption on a potentially vast scale. In other words it was quite easy for former StB officers to obtain a clean security vetting certificate if they knew the right people.
Tomas Kadlec resigned in 2003, allegedly over a power struggle between the NBU and the country's civilian counter-intelligence service, the BIS. It was recently alleged in the media that two million crowns was paid to Mr Kadlec by people close to Radovan Krejcir, millionaire businessman who fled the country after being charged with massive fraud. So some say implications for what went on at the NBU when Mr Kadlec was in office don't bear thinking about.