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Pavel Burian

November 24, 2021 Europe

BIS reports activity of Iranian agents has increased in Europe

BIS reports activity of Iranian agents has increased in Europe - Czech Points

The activities of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian secret services in the Czech Republic, cyber attacks or efforts to obtain internal information in connection with the completion of the nuclear power plant in Dukovany are described in last year’s report by the Security Information Service (BIS). In many cases, counterintelligence mentions the impact of the covidu-19 pandemic, which in the Czech Republic connected opponents of government measures with the disinformation scene, but also, for example, made it difficult for the secret services or the global logistics of terrorist organizations.

According to the BIS, coronavirus measures, for example, disrupted the plans of Russian diplomacy and secret services in the Czech Republic. Restrictions on movement have made it more difficult to contact the political, academic and business spheres. Russia has responded with increased interest in contacts to pro-Russian and anti-system officials. According to the BIS, the focus of disinformation websites has long been in line with Russia’s interests in the Czech Republic.

The Chinese secret services in the Czech Republic have mostly focused on activities in the fields of political and scientific intelligence. The Czech counterintelligence considers Chinese intelligence interests and activities within Czech academic institutions to be the most risky in terms of possible economic damage. According to the BIS, China’s increasingly assertive behavior, which is also reflected in the Czech Republic, will be one of the great challenges for the future.

Last year, cyber attacks also targeted Czech political parties or NGOs. However, most of the attacks that the counterintelligence identified and investigated concerned state institutions. In connection with the completion of Dukovany, the BIS recorded an effort to obtain internal information from the state administration. According to the Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (YES), it could have been an effort of potential contractors of the new block to obtain information from the state sphere, for example about the form of tender documentation or tender parameters. He believes that no information has been leaked.

According to the BIS, extremist groups in the Czech Republic are stagnating and have not been a serious security risk for several years. Despite the higher number of attacks in Europe, the level of threat to the Czech Republic through religiously motivated terrorism remained low, the BIS stated. Counterintelligence recorded signs of a tendency towards a radical interpretation of Islam in several individuals, especially from North Africa, who had various strong ties to the Czech Republic, but according to the BIS, this did not mean an immediate threat to security.

The pandemic last year saw a decline in almost all categories of threats to the BIS. In addition to making the logistics of global terrorist organizations more difficult, it has also made it more difficult for foreign intelligence agents to arrive and travel in the Czech Republic. At the same time, however, it also significantly interfered with the BIS’s intelligence operations, counterintelligence said.

The BIS also describes the emergence of the so-called anticovid movement, which brought together people against coronavirus measures and representatives of the Czech disinformation scene. Although the conspiracy reached a larger part of the population than usual thanks to his activities, the movement failed to mobilize the general public in the Czech Republic, the BIS said.