Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09BRATISLAVA142
2009-03-20 15:16:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bratislava
Cable title:  

DEMARCHE TO SLOVAK GOVERNMENT ON SECURITY

Tags:  PREL PINR NATO LO 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5647
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSL #0142/01 0791516
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201516Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2400
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRATISLAVA 000142 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/RPM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019
TAGS: PREL PINR NATO LO
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE TO SLOVAK GOVERNMENT ON SECURITY
CLEARANCE PROCESS

REF: A) BRATISLAVA 122 B) LAMORE-EDDINS EMAIL 3/13/09
(NOTAL)

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., Eddins for reasons 1.4 b/d.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRATISLAVA 000142

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/RPM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019
TAGS: PREL PINR NATO LO
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE TO SLOVAK GOVERNMENT ON SECURITY
CLEARANCE PROCESS

REF: A) BRATISLAVA 122 B) LAMORE-EDDINS EMAIL 3/13/09
(NOTAL)

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., Eddins for reasons 1.4 b/d.


1. (C) Summary: Charge conveyed U.S. views on the need for
strict adherence to national laws regarding the issuance of
security clearances to MFA Political Director Igor Slobodnik
on March 18. Queried by Slobodnik, Charge acknowledged that
U.S. concerns had been generated by press reports regarding
the Director of the National Security Office (NBU),Frantisek
Blanarik, but underscored that we were aware of several other
questionable cases. Slobodnik took the points on board,
noting that this highly sensitive issue would likely require
action by Prime Minister Fico. End Summary.


2. (C) Charge delivered points outlining U.S. concerns about
the integrity and consistency of Slovak procedures for
granting security clearances (proposed ref a, and amended and
authorized ref b). Embassy has been following for several
months press reports detailing the existence of documents
from Czechoslovak archives kept in Prague that strongly
suggest that Blanarik was a willing informant of the former
Czechoslovak Security Services (StB). If he were, according
to Slovak law as we understand it, he would not be eligible
for a security clearance himself, let alone be in a position
to lead the agency that is charged with issuing such
clearances.


3. (C) Charge underscored that, given the importance and
sensitivity of information exchanged among Allies, it was
imperative that every Ally fulfill with consistency,
scrupulousness and impartiality, NATO-endorsed national
requirements for such vetting. Even the appearance of bias
or politically-influenced decisions could be damaging. The
crux of the question is not Mr. Blanarik, who gets good marks
for his performance at the NBU, but rather a broader question
about system integrity and adherence to important national
and NATO commitments.


4. (C) Slobodnik expressed regret that the Blanarik case was
the impetus for the demarche, noting that he had been a very
cooperative and professional partner for the MFA and had also
played an integral role in assisting Western Balkan states to

create indigenous institutions akin to the NBU. According to
Slobodnik, NATO officials have praised Blanarik for this
work. Charge reiterated that the demarche was not aimed at
Blanarik, but rather was about the process. Furthermore, at
Blanarik's request, Charge explained that he planned to meet
with the NBU head personally to discuss our concerns.


5. (C) Slobodnik closed the meeting with a request (almost an
admonition) that we not engage further with the media on this
subject, because "once questions of national prerogatives and
sovereignty are raised, there could be a train wreck" with
the Prime Minister's office. Slobodnik continued that if
U.S. views are broadcast in the press, what should be a
discussion about process and NATO commitments could turn into
a backlash against perceived interference in Slovak internal
affairs. (Note: In response to a question about the Blanarik
case from the Slovak daily Sme, Charge had offered a generic
comment that "although NATO recognizes and respects national
procedures for managing all elements of the security
clearance process, the fact that some of the information
shared in NATO pertains to ongoing military operations makes
it imperative that these national procedures are rigorous and
that their requirements are honored.")

Comment and Conclusion
--------------


6. (C) Slobodnik delved briefly into the political dynamics
of the Blanarik case. Blanarik's appointment to his current
position followed a battle royal between Fico and coalition
partner Vladimir Meciar over whose nominee would lead the
Slovak Security Services. Fico insisted on his man; Meciar's
consolation prize was the NBU slot. His choice, Blanarik, had
served for several years as the Director General of the
Defense and Security division in the Government Office during
Meciar's notorious premiership. Although there are different
theories circulating as to who is behind the recent
"discovery" of the incriminating archival material, President
Gasparovic has now called on Blanarik to resign. Gasparovic
and Meciar are bitter enemies, and, of late, Meciar has been
launching almost daily attacks on the President in an effort
to damage his electoral prospects. Fico himself has seemed to
relish the controversy -- as it implicates both Meciar (who

BRATISLAVA 00000142 002 OF 002


Fico would love to jettison after the next elections) and
ex-PM Dzurinda (under whose government Blanarik was granted
his current security clearance) -- deepening our doubts about
the seriousness with which the senior GOS leadership is
approaching this issue.


7. (C) Given coalition dynamics, Slobodnik's conclusion that
this issue will ultimately have to be addressed by Prime
Minister Fico is undoubtedly correct. The MFA clearly does
not relish its role as a messenger and Slobodnik is concerned
that PM Fico will interpret our demarche as foreign
interference in Slovak affairs, one of his biggest bugaboos.
Slobodnik frankly stated his concern that this matter could
harm prospects for warmer relations between the U.S. and
Fico. While we certainly hope Fico will receive our message
in the spirit in which it was intended, given his tendency to
equate any criticism as a personal attack, we are not
optimistic.


8. (C) That said, our goal was and remains to make clear that
Slovakia needs to acknowledge and maintain its international
commitments, in this case with regard to the handling of
classified material. But we continue to see the same
disregard for honoring its obligations to the EU (on judicial
and prosecutorial independence),to the OSCE and UN (on
certain human rights issues),and to the business community
(with regard to transparency and the sanctity of contracts).
While some of the Fico government's disdain for commitments
is more rhetorical than real, it nonetheless creates a
climate in which personal loyalty or political expedience
often appears to trump the rule of law.
EDDINS