Slovakia, Intelligence and Security
The security and intelligence agencies of Slovakia work in the shadow cast by their communist-era predecessors. In a situation common among many nations of the former Soviet bloc, Western observers have noted a distressing degree of continuity between the old police-state security and intelligence apparatus, and that of the new democratic state. At the same time, Slovakia has worked to fulfill the requirements of integration into the new, post-communist Europe.
In 1993, Slovakia separated from the Czech Republic, with which it had comprised the nation of Czechoslovakia. Citizens of that nation had, during the years of communist rule, come to fear the State Security Service, or StBU. By 1993, the StBU had been disbanded, but four years later, Radio Free Europe reported that much of the infrastructure of the StBU lingered on under the guise of the new Slovenska Informacna Sluzba (Slovak Information Service, or SIS). According to the American information service, the Slovak government regularly conducted surveillance operations on its citizenry through the SIS.
A decade later, Slovakia was under consideration for membership in both the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), both of which require democratization as a prerequisite for admission. At the same time Slovakia had progressed toward greater democracy, its security and intelligence services had improved their ability to protect sensitive secrets. Among the requirements NATO imposed was the establishment of the National Security Office (NBU), which officially began operating in November 2001. The purpose of NBU is, in part, to protect classified information, which is shared between member nations.
In December 2002, members of the European Union approved Slovakia for membership in the EU beginning in 2004.
█ FURTHER READING:
Williams, Kieran, and Dennis Deletant. Security Intelligence Services in New Democracies: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
Gill, Peter. Review of Security Intelligence Services in New Democracies: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. Slavic Review 61, no. 2 (2002): 375–76.
Naegele, Jolyon. Slovakia: Intelligence Service Reverts to Communist-Era Practices. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. < http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/1997/05/F.RU.97052913316.html > (March 1, 2003).
Slovakia: Intelligence. Federation of American Scientists. < http://www.fas.org/irp/world/slovakia/index.html > (March 1, 2003).