The Croatian intelligence community under Franjo Tudjman had a large and varied organization and structure. At least 11 security and intelligence services are known to have operated during the Tudjman era. Most analysts tend to see these agencies as successors to the Tito-era political police. The term 'Croatian Intelligence Service' has been used as a catchall phrase by observers to refer to any service that has appeared in the media. Indeed such a service exists. However, it is remiss to accuse the same organization of all wrongdoing when in fact a number of smaller agencies, which often have overlapping areas of competency, have operated with very little transparency and covert political interference.
THE CROATIAN INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
by John Hatzadony
Intelligence and national security agencies exist in the civilian and military communities for criminal, internal security and counter-intelligence as well as foreign and military intelligence. Oversight is provided by the Office of the President, the Ministries of Interior and Defence, and the Croatian Sabor. The following analysis provides an overview of the various intelligence agencies, both civilian and military, intelligence community tasking structures, and security service oversight agencies.1 The overviews that follow will provide a brief reference to the reader for the remainder of the work presented. Where available, internal organizational structures of the relevant agencies will be provided. Finally, at the end of the chapter is an overall view of the entire intelligence community in the Republic of Croatia as during December 1999.
Part One: Civilian Intelligence Collection and Collectors
Ministry of the Interior (MUP - Ministarstvo Unutarnijh Poslova)
The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for all aspects of public safety within the Republic of Croatia including those aspects that relate to national security. The MUP is controlled by its Minister and Deputy Minister who are appointed by the President. The ministry's mission is carried out through the Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order, Police, Criminal Police, and Special Police. These units are run from the central administration in Zagreb, 20 nationwide police administrative regions, 195 police stations, and 113 police substations. In support, the Ministry also maintains the Common Service Division which is responsible for personnel management, material and financial affairs, technical services, information technology and a host of others.
Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order (SZUP - Sluzba Za Zastitu Ustavnog Poretka): Formed by President Franjo Tudjman's State Council, the new organization, the SZUP was ostensibly part of the Ministry of the Interior2 but in reality was already reporting directly to the Office of the President of the Republic. The organization of the SZUP was entrusted to Josip Manolic, Minister of the Interior and former chief of the Croatian SDB. His first tasks were to purge the Serb- dominated cadre of the Croatian SDB and KOS detachments and replace them with HDZ loyalists. More importantly, Manolic and the SZUP recruited from the second generation émigrés in the Croat diaspora. The same diaspora that had supported and funded the Tudjman/HDZ election campaign in 1990. 3Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIP - Ministarstvo Inostrane Poslova)
The SZUP initially operated as the country's overall intelligence service with responsibilities both domestic and foreign. As the intelligence community has grown, it has been relieved of much of its initial duties and operates solely as an internal federal security service. Through its National Security Department it is responsible for foreign counter-intelligence and the all encompassing rubric of national security. Known additional departments within the service include Operations, Political Violence, the Department of Serbians, and the Department of Muslims and Arabs. These latter two divisions hint at the politicized focus and notion of national security focus of the SZUP under the early Croat administration. The most important SZUP offices were reportedly located in Austria, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, some "Islamic" countries, such as Turkey, the cities of Belgrade, Nis, Kosovska, Mitrovica, and Zemun, in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Italy, and Sweden.
As a traditional role of foreign affairs and diplomacy, it should not be surprising that the Croatian Foreign Ministry should maintain its own inherent intelligence capability. Particularly important to the diplomatic function of the Ministry is independent foreign affairs analysis and communications security. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains two such security-intelligence related Divisions within its organization. Political analysis is handled by Division IV which is under the direction of an Assistant Minister. Division VII was responsible for internal security and secure communications with outlying Croat embassies and within the ministry also directed by an Assistant Minister. In addition, the MIP is also known to maintain a separate service, the OBS, for more direct action and involvement, no doubt to be translated as covert.
Security Intelligence Service (OBS - Obavestajna Bezbednostna Sluzba): Formed in 1991, the OBS was, like those previously mentioned, formed by an act of the ruling State Council run by the President, Franjo Tudjman. Despite being the smallest and least expensive intelligence agency in Croatia the OBS' main concern was (and perhaps still is) with espionage against Serbia and to a lesser extent Montenegro. Although no doubt this was in reality intended to target the decision-making structures of the FRY which was and remains Serbian. Reportedly, another main responsibility of the OBS is surveillance and propaganda toward the large diaspora community.4 Concentrated mainly in Germany and the United States this community is approximately 25 percent of all Croats and is extremely important to any Croatian Government because of crucial fund raising and potential political influence in their diaspora homelands.The National Security Office (UNS - Ured Za Nacionalnu Sigurnost): With such rapid growth of the Croatian intelligence community, coordination was undoubtedly a problem. In March 1993 the National Security Office was set up as a coordinating body for all Croatian intelligence. Little information is available on the UNS from the period of its establishment until its reorganization in 1995. In that year a new National Security Office Act was passed by the Croatian parliament reorganizing the Office (see Appendix 1). According to the new law, the UNS was defined as an executive body within the government to coordinate, direct and control the various services of the intelligence community as well as other branches of government with briefs in national security affairs.5 Under Article 2 of the Act, the activities of the UNS are defined as: coordinating assignments among ministries with a national security brief; designated to control and direct tasking of all intelligence and counterintelligence services; integrate, analyze, and evaluate intelligence for the production of reports for the President and the Government. The reorganized UNS was formed with four major offices:
Croatian Intelligence Service (HIS - Hrvatska Izvestajna Sluzba): Formed as a new and separate service responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence dealing exclusively with foreign countries and to coordinate the work of other services. First established in the Winter of 1993 under President Tudjman's son, Miroslav. In addition to the duties stated above, the HIS was also given sole ability to cooperate officially with foreign intelligence services on matters of mutual interest. The service is also the only intelligence service officially mandated to conduct operations abroad.6 As the main coordinating agency and lead agency in joint operations HIS was to be the premier foreign intelligence collection agency utilizing open source intelligence and covert collection. The majority of the intelligence collected is for the utilization of the President, the Prime Minister, and cabinet ministers. It disseminates its intelligence through short analytical articles, longer term analytical studies, daily intelligence briefings for the President and, on an as needed basis, coordinates the dissemination of intelligence acquired through other agencies within the community with all analyses copied to the UNS Director. 7The UNS is administered by its Director who is appointed and relieved by the president. Under The National Security Office Act, the UNS Director is responsible directly to the President for the operations of the UNS as a whole. The Deputy Director of the UNS is also appointed by the President, according to the Act, albeit in accordance with input from the Director. In addition, Service head appointments are also proposed by the director and require presidential approval thus giving the President an unprecedented role in intelligence supervision and control as compared to other branches of the intelligence community. Funding of the UNS is provided in Article 15, however, as with all other agencies with tasking in national security affairs, the actual budget is classified. Lastly, the UNS maintains major field offices in key Croatian regional centers, including: Zagreb, Varzdin, Bjelovar, Sisak, Karlovac, Osijek, Gospic, Pula, Rijeka, and Split.
Control and Supervision Service (NS - Nadzorna Sluzba): The NS is responsible for internal security of the overall Croat intelligence community. However, this broad based charter does not make clear as to whether this also includes the intelligence services that are within the Ministry of Defense.
Security Headquarters (SO - Stozer Osiguranja): The Security headquarters is tasked with a counterintelligence role as well as being responsible for the physical security of the President, the Croatian Parliament, and related governmental facilities. Unlike the other branches of the UNS and the intelligence community, the SO has been given limited policing powers with the ability to arrest individuals unlike the other branches with no criminal policing and arrest powers.
National Service for Electronic Monitoring (NSEI - Nacionalna Sredisnjica Elektronickog Izvidanja): Also referred to as the Croatian National Signals Intelligence Service, the NSEI is operationally attached to the Central Signals Intelligence Service of the Croatian Army Headquarters. The NSEI coordinates and manages all signals intelligence (SIGINT) for Croatia both internally and externally. The Director of the NSEI reports to the Joint National Security Committee (SONS - see below) through the UNS Director.
Intelligence Academy (OA - Obavestajna Akademija): The Intelligence Academy was formed as part of the UNS in 1997 to take over responsibility for training at the introductory and advanced levels for all of the services as well as the civilian Customs Police. The first Director of the Academy was Stjepan Bakula, former Administrator of Juvenile Prisons, and Director of the Control and Supervision Service within the UNS from September 1995 to January 1997. In an interview conducted in October 1997 Bakula stated that the Academy would conduct a three month orientation course for new recruits, a one year course for senior level manager, and regular courses lasting from four days to three months. 8
Part Two: Military Intelligence Collection and Collectors
The role of the military in the independence of Croatia cannot be underestimated. The immediate breakout of war between Croatia and the FRY ensured a major role for Croatian Ministry of Defense (MORH - Ministarstvo Odbrane Republike Hrvatske) intelligence units. This gave the MORH an extremely influential role in the development of policy in foreign affairs as well as in the conduct and operations of the intelligence community.
The Defense Ministry is organized along conventional lines with departments for defense policy, intelligence and security affairs, economics, finance and budget, public relations and information, personnel, and communications. The 1995 defense budget was approximately 10.1 Billion kuna ($1.9 Billion), 8.7 Billion kuna ($1.6 Billion) in 1996, 6.99 Billion kuna ($1.11 Billion) in 1997, and 7.5 Billion kuna ($1.16 Billion) in 1998.
Security Information Service (SIS - Sigurnosno Izvestajna Sluzba): The Ministry of Defence formed the SIS in April 1991. The Security Information Service was ostensibly set up to perform counterintelligence and physical security for the Ministry of Defence, sometimes in conjunction with Croatian Army Intelligence. The new branch in reality served to support the ruling HDZ and monitor the armed forces and SIS officers were soon deployed to every unit.9 This was similar to the former Communist practice of political control over the armed forces. In addition, SIS took the lead role in procuring arms covertly throughout the world for use by the Croatian military during the war. Operationally the SIS is deployed along the same pattern as the OSHV throughout the six military districts and with every army unit over battalion strength as well as having separate detachments within the Navy and Air Force. In addition, despite the mandate of the HIS, the Security Information Service is rumored to maintain resident stations in Washington, D.C., Beijing, Moscow, Kiev, Prague, and Warsaw. After a minor restructuring in October 1997 the SIS was reported to maintain divisions for operations, criminal investigations, counter- intelligence, and a security department for the General Staff. Support units included analysis, archives and information, and an analysis department. 10The Armed Forces
Department of International Military Cooperation ( ): This department is officially listed as a member of the Croatian intelligence community by former HIS Director Miroslav Tudjman. While not an intelligence service in the operational sense, this department does collect data through official diplomatic and military contacts. The Department also collects intelligence through official contacts through military envoys and attaches of the Republic overseas. Such intelligence is passed to the Minister of Defence and the HIS, however, the Department is not tasked with covert intelligence collections activities of any kind. 11
The Croatian Armed Forces (OSRH - Oruzane Snage Republike Hrvatske) are organized into six regions of the armed forces (ZP OS - Zborna Podrucja). The ZP OS functions as a regional administrative and operational command for the Croat Army units in their zone of responsibility and include active and reserve units. The six ZP OS regional commands and their headquarters include: I - Karlovac, II - Dakovo, III - Knin, IV - Ston, V - Pazin, and VI - Varazdin.
Directorate of Intelligence Affairs of the Croatian Army Headquarters (ObU- GS-OS - Obavestajna Uprava pri Glavnom Stozeru Oruzanih Snaga): The General Staff reports directly to the President as Commander-in-Chief. The General Staff consists of the President, the Chief of the General Staff, a Deputy Chief, Assistant chiefs for the Land Forces, Navy, and Air Force, and the Commanders of the six military regions. The Directorate of Intelligence Affairs of the Croatian Army Headquarters, formed in 1991, serves as the intelligence coordinating service for all of the armed forces and is directly attached to the Croatian General Staff for intelligence support. The four principal departments of the ObU-GS-OS are: analysis, collections, including covert human intelligence (HUMINT), reconnaissance and electronic intelligence (ELINT as well as SIGINT/COMINT), and signals security and electronic counter-measures.Part Three: Intelligence Coordination and Tasking
Intelligence Service of the Croatian Army (OSHV - Obavestajna Sluzba Hrvatske Vojska): Militarily, all the branches of the armed force have indigenous intelligence cells. The most important was, and remains, the OSHV which was established within the Army in 1990.12 Much like the former KOS of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the OSHV is primarily concerned with military intelligence, particularly intelligence collection and counterintelligence operations against Serb forces in Krajina and Serbia proper.
The OSHV is known to be divided into four operational departments: the first was responsible for collections, particularly human intelligence operations from Croat sources in Serbia as well as other hostile areas during the war; the second department is responsible for analysis and has access or indigenous control of a number of unmanned aerial-reconnaissance vehicles (UAV) and has been reported to have been supplied with satellite imagery by friendly governments; the third and fourth divisions are responsible for reconnaissance and electronic warfare/countermeasures respectively. The fourth is responsible for critical signals intelligence (SIGINT) which is processed through the electronic intelligence (ELINT) facility at Zagreb- Lucko Air Force Base and has been reportedly supplied with information from friendly governments particularly Germany. Organizationally the OSHV is deployed along with the rest of the armed forces throughout the nation's six military districts.
Croatian Air Force (HRZ - Hrvatsko Ratno Zrakoplovstvo): The approximately 1,850 personnel of the HRZ has its own headquarters in Zagreb and from there controls five principal air bases, nine flying squadrons, the maintenance center, numerous dispersal airfields, the national airspace surveillance radar network, and the anti-aircraft defense positions.13 In support of intelligence efforts, the HRZ has at its disposal two squadrons of MiG-21bis Fishbeds.14 In addition to their air superiority and ground attack roles the MiG-21's may also be used for tactical reconnaissance utilizing electro-optical and infrared cameras for basic imagery-intelligence (IMINT) in support of all branches of the armed forces. Furthermore, the national airspace radar network provides the Croatian intelligence community with a rudimentary SIGINT and surveillance capability.
Croatian Navy (HRM - Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica): The HRM maintains headquarters at Lora Naval Base outside of Split on the Adriatic Sea and is organized into three coastal command sectors: North at Pula, Central at Sibenik, and South Adriatic at Ploce. Its approximately 1200 personnel operate a variety of missile armed fast attack craft, patrol boats, landing ships and a small marine infantry force. In addition, in 1997 the HRM completed refitting a former Yugoslav Navy Una-class midget submarine, the Velebit, that it captured during early fighting in 1991. Given the small status accorded to the HRM within the overall military structure of the armed forces it maintains a minuscule intelligence capability responsible mostly for tactical and regional naval threat analyses. The Velebit, however, does allow it a potential role in short term covert action and surveillance missions with its indigenous marine infantry. It is thought that the HRM is attempting to refit a second Una as well.
Intelligence coordination and tasking was organized through the President and the Director - UNS. While the reorganized UNS was set up as the head agency to oversee intelligence operations and analysis in Croatia its link within the governmental structure was organized through two main committees: the Joint National Security Committee and the Intelligence Community Coordination Committee.
Joint National Security Committee (SONS - Stozerni Odbor za Nacionalnu Sigurnost): This committee is chaired by the Director of UNS. Other members include the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Development and Reconstruction, as well as the Deputy Director of UNS, the Director of HIS and the President's Advisors for National Security and Internal Affairs. The SONS was designated for identifying needs of the various arms of the Croatian government.Through these committees, Croatian intelligence received yearly tasking orders. In response, the individual agencies would then draw up a plan for the year as to how the service would fulfill the tasks assigned through KOOZ. As these were reviewed, the planning reports would then be confirmed by the Joint National Security Committee. According to the former head of the HIS, Miroslav Tudjman, between 1993 and 1998, the main areas of operation for the intelligence community were the protection of the Republic of Croatia, as well as liberated and occupied territories, regional security issues, including resolution of the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina, international terrorism and organized crime, and counter-intelligence. 16
Intelligence Community Coordination Committee (KOOZ - Koordinacijski Odbor Obavjestajne Zajednice): After SONS meets, a meeting is called of this committee to bring together the Heads of the various intelligence agencies and coordinate tasking among the various services to respond to the requirements of the Security Committee. The agencies represented on the committee include the: SZUP, SIS, ObU-GS-OS, and the HIS. According to the Handbook on the Work of the Croatian Intelligence Community, KOOZ: prepares yearly plans, approves joint actions among two or more agencies, performs analyses of the more important operations of the community, ensures agency compliance with regulations, monitors internal efficiency of the various intelligence agencies, proposes training, procurement, and preparation of the individual members of the community, and ultimately resolves cases of conflicting or overlapping interests, where jurisdiction is unclear or any other cases where conflicts exist. 15
From the beginning, the focus of the intelligence work of the Intelligence Community was the territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia and regional stability, and two thirds of the operations and projects, i.e., the capacity of the services, was devoted to these goals. Only one third of the capacity was directed toward international terrorism, organized crime and counter-intelligence protection. 17Part Four: Intelligence Community Oversight
Like other government agencies, the agencies of the Croatian intelligence community are subject to the laws of nation, the policies of the president, and their own internal directives. To ensure compliance with these laws and policies, the intelligence agencies are subjected to oversight by elements within their own organizations as well as by external oversight mechanisms in the executive and legislative branches of the government.
Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia (UPRH - Ured Predsjednika Republike Hrvatske): The President of the Republic of Croatia is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Under the constitution a president may not serve for more than two terms. The presidency is a very strong element within the Croatian political system. In addition to an extensive veto power the president may also issue decrees with the force of law in the event of a state of war or an immediate threat to the independence and unity of the Republic. The president also appoints the prime minister, the cabinet, all major ministers, and the director of the National Security Office.Thus from 1990, before the declaration of independence, through 1999, the Croatian intelligence community had evolved into some 12 different intelligence agencies within two ministries and independent agencies. Milivojevic estimated that in 1994 the SZUP alone accounted for 4000-5000 personnel including staff with dual functions in the Interior Ministry. Overall funding of the community is unknown but assumed to be large. No publications of the intelligence budget are allowed and only rough estimates can be made about how much funding the Croatian military puts toward intelligence from its budget.
Standing Committee for Internal and Foreign Affairs (Koordinacija Za Unutarnju I Vanjsku Politiku): This standing committee of the Croatian Parliament, Sabor, Chamber of Deputies is responsible for oversight of the intelligence community as a whole. It is chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister and consists of the Ministers of Defense, Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs, European Integration, and of Finance.
The basic task of the committee is to ensure that the intelligence community is organized and operating in accordance with federal law. It may launch its own investigations and reviews of all ministries and agencies with a national security brief. The committee also approves the regulations of the Joint National Security Committee, of which most members the committee belong to, and regulates compliance of the intelligence community through annual reviews. Noticeably, the committee does not have any official capacity to review presidential appointments within the intelligence community, although it obviously retains significant influence that may be exerted in other ways. Even more significant is that the committee has no budgetary approval over the intelligence community.
1. Note that this information is as the intelligence community existed through the last year of the reign of Franjo Tudjman.
2. Of interest here is the early relationship between Croatia and Germany. Not only was the government of Helmut Kohl the first to recognize the Republic of Croatia, it seems intelligence cooperation was provided early on as the Croatian SZUP borrowed the name of the German domestic security-intelligence service, the BfV.
3. See Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services." Jane's Intelligence Review, 6 (September 1994); 404.
4. See, Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services."
5. In response to numerous calls for more openness within the Tudjman regime, the UNS soon appeared with its own web site (www.uns.hr) explaining its role in relationship to the Croatian intelligence community as a whole. Also available at the site were a number of official press releases as well as diagrams of its administrative structure. Upon the death of Tudjman in December 1999 and parliamentary elections in January 2000, the UNS web site was shut down for "reconstruction." As of this writing no further information has been provided by the UNS since early 2000.
6. See, "What do the Croatian Intelligence and Security Services Do and How?" The Messenger. November 16, 1997. English translation provided at the UNS web-site February 2000 [http://www.uns.hr/english/aktualnosti/97-11-16-01.html].
7. Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 57-58.
8. See, "The Croatian 007's in School Benches," The Free Dalmatia. October 27, 1997. English language translation provided at the UNS web-site February 2000 [http://www.uns.hr/english/aktualnosti/97-10-27-01.html].
9. Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services."
10. Balkan Media and Policy Monitor. Online Edition. October 1997. [mediafilter.org/Monitor/mon.53-54/Mon.53-54.Svijet4.html].
11. Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 55-57.
12. The Croatian Navy and Croatian Air Force also retain intelligence divisions for tactical missions but each of these branches of the military has less than 2000 personnel thus limiting their roles within the armed forces.
13. Mauro Finati and Paolo Rollino, "Wings over the Balkans." Air International, Vol.56, No.3 (March 1999); 181.
14. The MiG-21 was formerly the mainstay of the Yugoslav Air Force. Early examples were acquired from defecting Croatian pilots who brought their aircraft with them. After the war, the inventory was increased with the purchase of a number of aircraft from the German government that acquired them via East Germany after unification.
15. Quoted in Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 55.
16. Ibid., 57.