Insider report of a former Hungarian secret service spy that was thrown out by Orban's fear of Putin
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Posted: 03/21/2017. at 15:08
A former senior Hungarian intelligence officer said that the Russian secret services represent a very high threat for Europe, and that in Hungary, there are several hundred Russian operatives.
Former Executive Head of Operations of the Hungarian civil counterintelligence, Ferenc Katrein, left the intelligence community in 2013 after 13 years of work, because he no longer agreed with the leadership, and has since lived abroad.
Leading Hungarian independent portal Index.hu
spoke with Katrein in an unnamed foreign country, in which he shared his experience from the Hungarian Office for the Protection of Constitutional Order (AH), where he was primarily responsible for counterespionage and combating extremism, radical right and international terrorism .
Although in the interview he tried not to directly criticize his former colleagues and bosses, he condemned the practice of rotation of internationally recognized experts in other positions within the secret service in the name of 'optimization'. He in diplomatic way explained why I left the AH.
- I felt that the professional values and principles which I believe have not been realized in the last period of my service. I felt that I could not identify with things that do not correspond to my professional approach, he said.
In recent years, he confirmed, changed the political position of Hungary towards Russia, and the Hungarian secret service were subjected to political blockade.
Asked how serious is the Russian threat to Europe on a scale of one to ten, said: 'Nine or ten, the highest level.'
- Against the European Union is conducted the offensive of secret services and operations aimed at enhancing the influence, in which Russians have serious professional experience and tradition, are much of this offensive. Russia has influence on the worsening of the refugee crisis, especially by that it exploits it to propagate and strengthen its influence, said Katrein.
He commented on a statement by former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who said that in Hungary there are presently 600 to 800 Russian agents.
- The term 'agent' is a very professionally wrong. If he was talking about active, operational intelligence, that number is far overblown. But if you count a whole network of people connected with the Russian intelligence services, which serve Russian interests, that number seems realistic.
- The exact number is known only to agencies that have sent them in, Hungarian counterintelligence agencies speak only of "persons suspected of espionage ', so are categorized diplomats and un-diplomat personnel accredited to embassies. In addition to the traditional position of offering diplomatic immunity, worth is to note individuals that are associated with various state-owned companies, airlines, travel agencies, cultural centers, educational institutions and state-run media, according to the judgment of professional counterespionage experts said Katrein and estimated that about 30-40% employees of the Russian embassy are "persons suspected of espionage.
- It's hard to tell the exact number, because the Secret Service think regionally, and not on individual states. It may happen that a diplomat who is accredited in Hungary acts as an intelligence agent under diplomatic immunity in neighboring countries.
Katrein explained and what was the purpose of the exercise by the paramilitary Hungarian National Front (MNA) conducted under the auspices of the Russian military intelligence, the GRU.
MNA has conducted exercises with airsoft guns along with Russian diplomats, which the media connect with GRU. Their goal, it is believed, was 'to raise readiness for action', Katrein says that 'action' can mean many things, from disrupting public services to the commission of crimes in public.
- All this is very suitable for testing the security system of the state and its government. Who, when, how and with what force responds to such actions, participating in their suppression, which is a hierarchy of decision-making, and that is the decision making process - much more can be detected with the help of such actions, he said.
Although the Hungarian intelligence service knew that the MNA was associated with GRU, a paramilitary group was disbanded only after the murder of a policeman in the village of Bonyju, and group was disbanded by the police anti-terrorism center TEK. Katrein regrets that the secret services were not more proactive, so the main responsibility for preventing fell on the interior ministry, but he did not know why it came to that.
- There are no professional reasons that explains it. Probably we did not want a direct conflict with a foreign intelligence agency or the state, said Katrein, and explained that it is more likely that the Hungarian state policy was afraid of conflict with Vladimir Putin that the secret service were afraid of confrontation with GRU.
He statews that one of the greatest professional chalinges is revealing deep infiltrated operatives who can cause a mayor damage.
- Russian services are known to think 10 to 20 years ahead. They build agent carriers years ahead. They build agent carriers that live in target states in areas they perceive to be important during the longer time range - politics, energy, law, law system, security services, science, media, and so on.
After Hungarian government members publicly stated that they believe that George Soros is a threat to national security more then Kremlj, Katrein said that in AH does not exsist department that monitors NGO financed by Soros.
- I do not want to pretend that I am some fireless conterespionage agent, but I am not afraid of NGO’s such as Helsiki commission, or Hungarian union for human rights, and I do not hide in angle from them. I cannot perceive them as organisations that prepare a coup. But I also do not think that battle against corruption is an attempt to take down the constitution order, he said.
He also condamned so called security experts who, on state TV attack NATO, insist that refugee crisis is controlled invasion and that police should be enabled to shoot at the frontier, or repel the statements that Russia is involved in American elections to help Donald Trump.
- It is quite difficult to someone, with a rich experience in this field, to remain silent when hearing such statements. It is quite simple to judge about the orientation of this so called professionals. Those who that consider themselves experts while they panic and talk about war and invasion are not experts, but something else. You must get out and see if it is a war. If it is not, lets thing about a bit,m he said.