2012-04-19 Cablegate: Polish Secret Service cooperated with US in 2006 #wlfind

In 2006, the Polish military Secret Service (WSI) was restructured. The negotiations leading up to this drastic move triggered a number of US diplomatic dispatches. Most of these summarize public speeches by leading Polish politicians. The selection of material included in these dispatches is in itself telling. Most remarkable, however, is a casual comment by embassy staff in an unclassified cable (06WARSAW1171, emphasis by editor):

"On June 9, President Lech Kaczynski signed into law three bills that will liquidate Poland's existing Military Information Services (WSI) on September 30, 2006 in order to create two new services on October 1, 2006, the Military Intelligence Service (SWW) and the Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW). The laws were a centerpiece of PiS's campaign promise to eliminate the vestiges of communism and corruption from Polish military intelligence. The laws do not appear to eliminate any existing military intelligence functions and so Post sees no reason to fear disruption of any ongoing cooperation with Polish military intelligence."

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported in 2009 that such a collaboration in fact existed - up to 2005. The article is based on numerous sources with inside knowledge.

This article contains a number of interesting claims:

- A number of the agents delegated to the CIA went through an old fashioned USSR training. Some did not even have good English language proficiency. They would not be associated with the US.

- These agents had an excellent expertize in the Near and Middle East. They were paid for their work.

- The military and the civilian branch of the Secret Service collaborated with the US. The former all but wrote dispatches for the US, but they were not working directly for the US; their top level staff decided which piece of information should be passed on. The latter reported directly to the US.

The collaboration between the US and an unspecified part of the Polish Secret Service was confirmed to Spiegel by a CIA source.

These are the data selected by US diplomats to be included in cables (emphasis by editor):

- "The PM ... pointed to the imminent liquidation of the military intelligence service (WSI) and its replacement with new, separate military intelligence and military counter-intelligence services, as a crucial reform that would finally accomplish the complete removal from the military intelligence function of all "pre-1989" (i.e. Communist-era) personnel. In the same vein, he said, the Internal Security Agency (ABW) was undergoing reform, including a somewhat enigmatic reference to a "change in the relationship between the security services and those supervising them."" (06WARSAW1646)

- "Asked by reporters about the future of the Military Information Services (WSI), Kaczynski and Sikorski revealed details of legislation to be submitted later on March 13 on WSI reform. As reported reftel, this legislation would abolish WSI June 30, and create two new military structures - one external for intelligence and one for counterintelligence - as of July 1. According to Kaczynski, Sikorski as DefMin would exercise day-to-day supervision of the new services but the Minister-Coordinator for Special Services, Zbigniew Wassermann, would have full access to information gathered by the services (similar to the U.S. DNI relationship with DIA)." (06WARSAW504)

- "Wassermann advocates creating two leaner, more disciplined intelligence services to replace one unified military organization. In an effort allegedly aimed at purging "Soviet and East German trained officers," Wassermann proposed aggressive vetting and manpower reductions that would leave a newly created military intelligence agency with half the staff of WSI,s current foreign intelligence branch. Although much of the political rhetoric against WSI has targeted its alleged Communist-era legacies, the GOP,s main focus is on reigning in WSI,s alleged lack of accountability and corruption, from leaks of confidential information to the media to involvement in "inappropriate commercial activity." Sikorski has agreed on the need to remove the pathological connections between WSI and the civil economy or media."" (06WARSAW497)

There are also numerous mentions of alleged corruption for financial gain within the agency.

Even though the exact dynamics behind the restructuring efforts remain unclear, a number of themes come to light. First, for some reason there appears to have been a propensity to talk to the media amongst Secret Service staff. Second, the Polish government was not satisfied with the information flow within the agencies. Moreover, there were problems with who these agencies reported to.

The WSI operated a large military facility in Stare Kiejkuty, near Szymany airport. The former head of the agency is currently being investigated in connection with a CIA prison on the grounds of the agency.

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