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Czech Republic: Intelligence

Czech Security Information Service


The mission of the Security Information Service (BIS), which was created as a state intelligence agency of the Czech Republic, is to protect national interests, democracy and freedom, and to defend individual citizens and the state vis-a-vis the most serious forms of crime. Unlike the police, who enter the scene when a criminal offence is perpetrated, seek to find the facts and apprehend the culprit, BIS identifies, describes and assesses threats and dangers in areas within its purview as defined by law. In this preventive role its activities and existence are irreplaceable. And this involves by far not only defence against potential threats to the foundations of the democratic system and the sovereignty of the Czech Republic alone. In collaboration with other intelligence agencies of our state and partner services of all democratic countries, BIS fulfils the task of anticipating, blunting and eliminating threats which put in jeopardy the entire human civilization. The global anti-civilization threats include international terrorism and organized crime, particularly the spread of technologies and components for the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; transfers of classical weapons to neuralgic places in different parts of the world; and attempts of organized crime to inflitrate the government, economic and political structures of states.

The main goals and objectives are defined for the Security Information Service by the Act on Intelligence Services, while the Government and President of the Republic may charge it with quite specific tasks. In all its activities BIS respects and strictly adheres to the unchallengeable principles of its work: it observes human rights, and if it is compelled to infringe upon them, it does so solely in keeping with rules set by law. It is non-partisan, its internal structure is clearly organized, and observance of human rights in the execution of intelligence work is overseen by a special parliamentary body. The Service must not have any repressive powers - contrary to the secret services of totalitarian states, it is not for instance allowed to arrest, interrogate and bring charges against people - and it must not collect information beyond the frame of the defined task. The creed of the Service is to serve national interests and to protect the society against serious threats. It accepts this commitment in the spirit of loyalty to the democratic values, the Constitution and other legislation, while preserving human dignity and integrity, respecting and observing laws to the maximum possible degree. The Security Information Service serves the state - not political parties - and it strives to develop a high level of ethical conduct and professionality.

The Security Information Service, whose existence is in the interest of the Czech Republic and its citizens, was set up as a secret service because only as such it can effectively fulfil the tasks defined for it by law. Even though it mostly has to work covertly, it should be remembered that it is funded by the state, that means with money collected from taxpayers who therefore have the right to know how it works and what it does. It pursues a policy of maximum possible openness in relation to the public which, however, is connected also with the declaration of the government policy as an open one, and clearly proves that BIS is an institution of a democratic state.

In fulfilling its mission, the intelligence service cannot do without the support of the public. All who believe that they possess useful and relevant information concerning the areas of BIS activities can directly contact the Service. The Security Information Service relies on the support of citizens and is grateful to anybody who has helped or has been assisting it in the protection of the nation's security, democracy and freedom.

Headquarters building

Aside from the Security Information Service (BIS), which is responsible for counterintelligence, the principal Czech foreign intelligence agency is the Office for Foreign Relations and Information (UZSI) (Úrad pro zahranicní styky a informace). Its director answers to the Minister of Interior.

There is a separate "Military Intelligence Service" and an office of "Military Defense Intelligence."

The "National Security Authority" (Národní bezpečnostní úřad) is responsible for protection of classified information and related security policies.

Sources and Resources

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Updated October 8, 2009