For You

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SIS 2016 Annual Report

Bratislava, May 2017
  1. Foreword by the Director General
  2. SIS strategic focus
    1. Security
    2. Migration
    3. Security risks connected with illegal migration
    4. Counter-terrorism
    5. Extremism
    6. Counter-espionage
    7. Hybrid threats
    8. Countering organised crime
    9. Harmful sectarian groupings
    10. Socially marginalised communities
    11. Protection of classified information and security vetting for customers
    12. Protection of cyberspace
    13. Economy
    14. Corruption and preferential treatment
    15. Inefficient management of state and municipality-owned assets
    16. Customs, tax and financial fraud
    17. Threats to the financial system of the Slovak Republic
    18. Foreign economic relations of the Slovak Republic
    19. Foreign politics
    20. Ukraine
    21. Russian Federation
    22. Western Balkans
    23. Crisis and conflict regions
    24. Threats to Western tourists
  3. Cooperation with state bodies and notification duty
    1. Intelligence production for customers
  4. State of affairs, basic activities and SIS oversight
    1. Personnel matters
    2. Main indicators
    3. Budget spending and technical and material provisioning
    4. Budget spending
    5. Technical and material provisioning
    6. Information-technical means (ITM)
    7. Activities in the context of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council
    8. Cooperation with intelligence services from other countries
    9. Legislation and inspection
    10. Legislation
    11. Supervision
  5. A report on the activity of the National Security and Analytical Centre (NBAC)
  6. Summary

1. Foreword by the Director General

This Annual Report contains information on the most significant threats recorded in 2016. It describes key processes pertaining to developments in the fields of terrorism, migration and organised crime and discusses the phenomenon of hybrid threats.01 We monitored changes in the security milieu as they unfolded, evaluated threat level and forwarded intelligence outcomes to statutory clients. Every aspect of our activity proved that intelligence services are not effective on national territories unless they intensively cooperate with their counterparts in other countries.

The threats of Jihadism, extremism, migration influx, cyber activities and activities of foreign intelligence services affected our as well as European security while the ever-growing threat level put the readiness, commitment and performance of all divisions of the service to the test. The past year was also challenging due to the Presidency of the Slovak Republic of the Council of the European Union (SK PRES).

Although terrorism and migration currently pose the major threat to the European community, we did not neglect other responsibilities aimed to protect security of citizens.

The Annual Report seeks to document the efforts of the Slovak Information Service as a committed and reliable organisation and one of the pillars of the security of the Slovak Republic.

I am firmly convinced that this report provides a real picture of the importance of the Slovak Information Service for the society and citizens’ security.

2. SIS strategic focus

2.1 Security

Migration

The migration and refugee crisis, caused by poor social and economic conditions in some African countries and instability in the Middle East, that is having a security and political impact on the EU and Slovakia, was one of the priorities of the service in the evaluated period.

The migration pressure on the outer Schengen border decreased in 2016. Compared to 2015, the total number of illegal migrants and refugees who came to the EU decreased by almost 75 %. The so-called ‘migration agreement’ between the EU and Turkey and measures enabling better protection of the borders by the Western Balkan countries were the main factors.

The principal migration routes into the EU did not change. Fewer migrants coming from the Middle East via Greece and more from Africa via Italy helped balance the overall numbers on the two principal Mediterranean routes in 2016 (compared to 2015). Yet relocations from Greece and Italy, the EU’s two buffer countries, were slow and it was only in the final months of 2016 that some progress occurred - roughly 10,000 migrants were relocated to other EU member states.

The principal migration routes into the EU did not change. Fewer migrants coming from the Middle East via Greece and more from Africa via Italy helped balance the overall numbers on the two principal Mediterranean routes in 2016 (compared to 2015). Yet relocations from Greece and Italy, the EU’s two buffer countries, were slow and it was only in the final months of 2016 that some progress occurred - roughly 10,000 migrants were relocated to other EU member states.

02Most illegals coming through either the Balkan route or the eastern mainland route still viewed the Slovak Republic as a transit country rather than a destination country. This was also the case with many of those who had been relocated to Slovakia under the relocation programme or under the voluntary effort of the Slovak Republic as these people decided to return to their countries of origin or continued to other (destination) countries in the EU.

No substantial change was recorded regarding illegal migration from Ukraine in terms of organisation and methods used for smuggling people through the Slovak-Ukrainian border. SIS informed its customers about the continuous trend to smuggle people by land (despite the difficult terrain) and by air.

The service also acquired information on sophisticated forms of illegal migration in 2016 that included misuse or alteration of Slovak travel documents, bogus marriages (between foreigners and female nationals), fictitious companies, misuse of invitations to visit the country and Slovak study visas.

No information acquired in 2016 indicated substantial shift in the migration patterns and relating threats to Slovakia in 2017.

Security risks connected with illegal migration

Although illegal migration impacted Slovakia indirectly in 2016, SIS was consistently evaluating the relating security risks to the EU.

Most migrants still arrived with false/altered/invalid documents or no documents. This augmented the risk of ISIS misusing the migration routes to smuggle operatives or returnees (foreign fighters) from Syria to commit attacks in the EU.

03In 2016, some asylum seekers in the EU influenced by the propaganda of ISIS (call to commit attacks with any means available) carried out small-scale attacks that resonated in the media.

For organised criminal groups (focused on people-trafficking as well as forging documents, drug-trafficking and illegal employment), migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe became a source of income. In 2016, national authorities of the EU countries had no information on whereabouts of around 10,000 unaccompanied minor migrants. It is possible that some minors were misused by organised groups to conduct various acts of crime.

Anti-immigration and anti-Islam were the central themes of far-right organisations in 2016. The scale of these activities in individual European countries depended on the number of migrants that had arrived. In most EU countries, a shift from violent actions towards online campaigns was recorded; at the same time, the risk arising from increasing popularity of far-right political entities on both EU and national levels also increased. Slovak far-right entities were no exception.

Counter-terrorism

As to the threat of terrorist, the security situation in Slovakia was assessed as relatively calm in 2016. We did not record any imminent threats posed by terrorist attacks targeting Slovakia, its citizens or interests abroad. However, the threat potential increased, mainly as a result of the increased number of attacks and violent incidents conducted by Jihadi adherents in other EU countries. Daesh still posed the most severe threat to the EU and NATO countries or their interests abroad. Most terrorist attacks conducted in Europe were inspired by Daesh and their intensive media campaign. Most incidents were carried out by small cells and lone actors, some of whom acted upon orders received from the zones of Jihad. The terrorist attacks mostly targeted so-called soft targets (civilians and easily accessible targets). In this respect, the service reported of a potential threat arising from propaganda of Daesh (some supporters of the organisation published a series of photographs depicting several mostly European cities to manifest their support to Daesh).

A number of documents were elaborated by the service that analysed specific terrorist acts, evaluated the terrorist threat in Europe and threats to international sports events. A growing number of the so-called returnees (EU citizens or persons with valid residence in an EU country), making their way from a zone of Jihad back to Europe, posed an imminent threat for the European countries. Contrarily to the previous year, the number of foreign terrorist fighters who left Europe for the zones of Jihad decreased in the assessed period.

In 2016, the service recorded cases in which individuals with ties to Jihadi groups in other EU countries possessed deactivated (so-called expansion) firearms that originated from Slovakia. SIS repeatedly warned about the flawed Slovak firearm legislation and proposed amending it.

Although Slovakia was not the principal target country for Islamist radicals and foreign fighters, we learnt about persons with links to Daesh who may have crossed the territory of the country. Relevant organisations were notified about high-risk persons linked with radical branches of Islam who could potentially target an important aspect of transport infrastructure in the country and the service proposed adoption of special security measures.

Extremism

We paid great attention to the activities of far-right entities in the evaluated period. In the first half of 2016, these were focused mainly on the migration crisis. The anti-Roma agenda was revisited by right-wing extremists later in the year. The anti-migration stands were particularly manifested in their online campaigns in which they warned against the risks of integrating refugees into the society. These views were less often presented at public rallies. The largest far-right anti-immigration protest, which was attended by 500 protesters, took place in Bratislava on 25 June 2016 and was calm.

04The criticism of the EU and NATO was part and parcel of the right-wing extremists’ anti-immigration campaign. In this context, the Slovak right-wing extremists organised or helped organise a number of public activities in support of Slovakia’s leaving the Euro-Atlantic groups. Slovak far-right supporters responded to the terrorist attacks in Europe by criticising EU’s multiculturalism and immigration policies in the virtual space only.

SIS also monitored activities of radical football fans that mostly took place at football stadiums. Our customers were notified about violent clashes of fans that occurred outside stadiums.05

Due to the persistent conflict in eastern Ukraine, the service collected information on Slovak nationals who joined the conflict.

Far-left activities were not intensive in 2016 and were mostly seen online. These activities mainly aimed to discredit the far-right and their political activities. Left-wing extremists held several rallies, protests and cultural events.

Counter-espionage

In the assessed period, SIS collected, evaluated and stored information on activities of foreign intelligence services in Slovakia.

Several foreign intelligence services were attempting to infiltrate central bodies of the Slovak state administration and security forces and conduct activities in economic, scientific, military, information-technology and industrial-espionage fields.

Many activities of foreign intelligence services focused on SK PRES.

SIS also focused on activities of those services/countries conducting activities that threaten global security.

The service engaged in successful cooperation with partner intelligence services from the EU and NATO member states and some Asian countries.

Hybrid threats

As elsewhere, efforts in the area of hybrid threats were primarily devoted to tasks conferred on the service by the Act on the Slovak Information Service and the SIS Strategic Focus. 06In 2016, SIS monitored and analysed the security milieu (situation in conflict zones and crisis regions) and security threats (espionage, terrorism, extremism, cyberattacks, organised crime, imperilment of the energy and raw material security, etc.) with an aim to pinpoint and evaluate the most serious security threats to Slovakia.

The internet and especially social media and various new means of communication provide a high level of privacy and a feeling of impunity and as such are prone to misuse by terrorists, extremist or foreign powers that carry out influence activities. Therefore, all these activities were among those that SIS focused on in 2016.

Since 2013, SIS has been holding expert courses at selected state organisations (Security Awareness Programme) to prevent and eliminate risks arising from hybrid threats; the aim of the courses is to help civil servants who work with computers avoid classified information leakage and to enable counter-espionage protection (or to improve the civil servants’ skills in preventing influence attempts by foreign powers).

Once adopted, the new cyber-security law and Security Strategy of the Slovak Republic we helped draft in 2016 will become an effective tool for countering hybrid threats.

Countering organised crime

In the Slovak Republic, organised crime has gradually evolved from simple violent criminality into sophisticated economic crime, which is more profitable and difficult to uncover and prosecute. This is contributed to the fact that the Slovak Police Force eliminated most major criminal groups engaged in violent crime.

In addition to economic crime, organised criminal groups were also profiting from production, distribution and smuggling of drugs and precursors in 2016. Slovakia is one of the transit countries for trafficking drugs from the Balkans to Western Europe. Only a small portion of the drugs trafficked is consumed in Slovakia. Apart from common hard drugs (such as cocaine and heroin), we noticed cheap synthetic drugs were in higher demand not only in Slovakia, but also in the Czech Republic, Ukraine and the Balkans. In Slovakia, production of these drugs became limited due to adopted legislative and law-enforcement measures, yet these drugs and precursors were still imported from foreign countries. Besides deals involving synthetic drugs, SIS recorded cases in which genuine and fake pharmaceuticals were being smuggled.

A party to international cooperation efforts of the European intelligence services, SIS has long been engaged in the monitoring of transnational criminal gangs whose activities impact a number of European countries. Each year, SIS and other services from the EU partake in a working group on organised crime.

We learnt about continued efforts of foreign criminal entities to obtain Slovak permanent residence or citizenship, as it would enable them to move freely in the EU, manage their illegal activities in Slovakia and launder profits from criminal activities abroad by conducting legal business in Slovakia.

On top of smuggling of cheap Ukrainian goods, weapons and drugs through the eastern border, we expect that the Ukrainian organised crime will become more active in orchestrating illegal migration given the economic crisis/conflict in Ukraine and the persisting migration crisis.

In 2016, relevant organisations were notified about persons suspected from procuring others to commit murder, racketeering, burglaries, blackmailing, pandering, hiding places of criminals at large.

Proliferation and trafficking in defence-industry products and safety of nuclear installations and materials

As before, SIS kept monitoring deals involving controlled goods (military/dual-use materials) in Slovakia and deals involving Slovak entities. In line with the legislation in force, SIS played an active role in the licencing procedure for defence-industry products and products possession of which is limited for security reasons. The service actively participated in international cooperation efforts of European services regarding proliferation and trafficking of dual-use items.

Prime intelligence attention was paid to exports of defence-industry products to sensitive regions (in respect of the international political situation) where a risk of re-export exists or regions bordering with embargoed countries. SIS focused on identifying real end-users of products and cross-checking the EU and UN sanction lists. Some Slovak companies kept exporting goods to the Middle East and African countries. When examining the deals, SIS actively cooperated with a number of partner services on both bilateral and multilateral levels to establish identity of the end-users.

SIS continued to monitor and collect information on trafficking of D-category firearms (deactivated live firearms that can potentially be reactivated and misused by organised crime, terrorists or extremists).

We noticed an increasing tendency of some customers to purchase gas, Flobert and percussion firearms as a replacement for the so-called expansion firearms, which became less sought-after once the tougher law (effective since July 2015) had been adopted.

We proposed a comprehensive amendment to the Firearms and Ammunition Act 190/2003, as A-category, B-category and C-category firearms converted to percussion and Flobert firearms were still being sold. The sale of such firearms is not properly monitored, despite the fact that they pose a substantial risk of potential reactivation. These firearms are exported outside Slovakia, while end-users and use remain unknown. This issue is tackled at an international level in the existing or planned amendments to the EU legislation. In this context,SIS continued to report cases of non-observance of legal duties during acquisition of the so-called expansion firearms.

In 2016, SIS heightened its activities in monitoring deals in dual-use products in an effort to prevent embargoed/sanctioned entities from taking part in proliferation activities. In most cases, these entities used cover/dummy entities to get hold of dual-use products. Active bilateral cooperation with partner services was indispensable. SIS also focused on direct and indirect exports to high-risk countries and monitored shipment, transfer and smuggling of armaments related to the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine that may have affected security of the EU/NATO and the Slovak Republic.

Harmful sectarian groupings

In the evaluated period, SIS paid attention to harmful sectarian groupings and pseudo-religious communities. We focused mainly on their fundraising activities, penetration into schools and psychological manipulation of their members.07

Socially marginalised communities

While monitoring socially marginalised Roma communities, SIS paid attention to potential escalation of inter-ethnic violence in some regions in eastern Slovakia. In the assessed period, SIS did not record signals indicating imminent social unrests or extensive organised migration of poor citizens to foreign countries.

Protection of classified information and security vetting for customers

In 2016, the service sent statements on 357 applicants for Slovak citizenship regarding the facts relevant for the decision-making process according to the Slovak Citizenship Act 40/1993 (ascertaining the security risks or any information that might prevent the person from being granted citizenship). These were sent at the request of the Ministry of Interior’s Public Administration Section under section 8(a)(3) of that law. The service administratively vetted 335 persons at the request of the Ministry of Interior’s Migration Office according to section 19(a)(9) of the Asylum Act 480/2002, and 11,659 persons at the request of the Presidium of the Police Force’s Office of the Border and Alien Police according to section 125(6) of the Foreigners’ Residence Act 404/2011.

The service joined the vetting process of the National Security Authority, Military Intelligence and Police Force. The clients were sent information on the security profile of candidates and business persons according to the Protection of Classified Information Act 215/2004. The law provides in its section 75(1)(e) that the Slovak Information Service participates in the process of gathering information relevant for assessing the eligibility of candidates for judicial positions by retrieving information from own databases on behalf of the National Security Authority.

The service participated in the vetting of persons under section 14(4) of the Provision of Services in Private Security Act 473/2005 by means of statements issued at the request of the Presidium of the Police Force of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic’s Office for Private Security Services and regional police directorates. It also issued statements at the request of the Transport Office (Civil Aviation Division) when assessing the security credibility of persons under section 34(a)(5) of the Civilian Aviation Act 143/1998.

The service provided statements under section(5)(2, 4) of the Act on Trading in Defence-Industry Products 392/2011 to the Ministry of Economy related to corporate requests for permits to trade (and mediate deals) in defence-industry products.

As to SK PRES in the second half of 2016, the service played an active role in the vetting process of all parties involved.

Protection of cyberspace

As to cyberspace protection, the service closely cooperated with all relevant bodies to enable and adopt preventive and security measures mainly in respect of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2016. Due attention was paid to securing the cyberspace in this period.

SIS customers were warned against electronic espionage as vulnerabilities of information systems. Active countermeasures were proposed to avoid the associated risks.

The service was actively involved in the fulfilment of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Cybersecurity Strategy of the Slovak Republic for 2015-2020.

It was learnt on many occasions that the public administration did not fully respect the security requirements for information systems and observe the rules of managing information security. The staffing and funding of information-security management in some Slovak public organisations is often inadequate.

In our experience, some organisations are less flexible in responding to imminent cyber threats, although speed at which measures are taken is often the key factor that brings success in dealing with certain threats in this area.

2.2 Economy

Corruption and preferential treatment

As in the previous years, SIS focused on uncovering corruption and nepotism in municipal and regional bodies, state-administration bodies and entities wholly or partially owned by the state, during public procurement, property sale, provision of EU funds and funds from the state budget as well as in the Police Force and the Financial Administration.

We informed relevant authorities about suspected cases of corruption and preferential treatment during sale of municipal property and commissioning of construction works by municipal councils. SIS also informed about system-wide flaws identified in several restitution cases that complicated and delayed claims of applicants and created breeding ground for corruption. In some cases, the service warned about suspected corruption in restitution cases as some applicants were given preferential treatment or applicants fraudulently received land or land compensations.

Suspicions of corruption were also recorded in the area of tax collection, where efforts were made to bribe tax controllers in return for alternation of audit results by certain companies.

As to the drawing of subsidies from the EU funds and the state budget, statutory clients were briefed about an intermediary who proposed arranging a subsidy from the EU funds for a 20% commission to members of a municipal council.

We repeatedly sent information on suspected cases of collaboration between police officers and tobacco smugglers, people-traffickers and members of criminal gangs.

Inefficient management of state and municipality-owned assets

Cases that SIS recorded regarding inefficient management of state and municipality-owned assets concerned mainly government and EU subsidies, overpriced purchases and assets sold at disadvantageous prices.

SIS pointed to suspected cases of caused harm to Slovak and European financial interests when farming subsidies and subsidies for research and development projects and environmental protection had been disbursed.

As to inefficient management of EU funds, SIS learnt about a businessperson who tried to avoid returning several million euros in subsidies he was not entitled to by signing his possessions over to kindred persons. Additionally, we provided information on the company suspected of submitting fake invoices for works that had never been carried out after having obtained a non-repayable subsidy from the EU funds.

SIS also pointed to a suspected case of stripping a regional state-funded institution of its assets as equipment in good condition had been decommissioned and sold to businesses by that institution’s managers, keeping the proceeds for themselves.

A group of pharmacists and doctors was suspected for issuing fictitious prescriptions for drugs that were paid for by health insurance companies. These drugs were later sold abroad.

Customs, tax and financial fraud

The service concentrated its efforts on uncovering tax and customs fraud while protecting the country’s economic interests.

Several domestic organised groups — often with ties to or collaborating with foreign organised-crime structures — are involved in illegal production and trafficking of spirits, cigarettes and mineral oils in Slovakia.

Groups smuggling large amounts of cigarettes usually from Ukraine are cooperating with Ukrainian criminal underworld, customs officers and the police. Cigarettes smuggled through the eastern border are also sold in other EU countries. Furthermore, cigarettes have long been smuggled through our eastern border by plane.

The service also dealt with illegal activities carried out by a network of companies that used fictitious business operations to evade income tax/VAT or to illegally reclaim VAT. During the fraud, the organisers sometimes used a chain of collaborating companies, some of which were based abroad or had foreign owners or representatives. When legislative changes pertaining to VAT were and the VAT Control Statement was introduced, tax offenders gradually abandoned fraudulent unwarranted claims to excessive VAT refunds.

08We identified a number of mergers in 2016 that companies used to avoid paying taxes or make it more difficult for the authorities to bring evidence in tax evasion cases.

Threats to the financial system of the Slovak Republic

Intelligence was acquired on organised groups of fraudsters who used dummies to commit credit fraud and on plans to steal money from bank accounts. SIS also recorded activities of foreign businesspersons who sought to use a Slovak company to conduct suspicious financial transactions and also tried to con Slovak entities with a feigned bond deal.

Foreign economic relations of the Slovak Republic

Our particular concern was energy security in respect of gas transit and supplies, especially the risk of suspended gas transit through Ukraine during the winter heating season.

The transit situation will be determined by the result of the litigation between Naftogaz (Ukraine) and Gazprom (Russia) over the price and terms of gas supplies through Ukraine.

In the medium term, the future of gas transit through Ukraine may also depend on new gas pipelines. SIS was particularly interested in the prospects of Nord Stream II and the relating infrastructure. SIS also analysed Turkish Stream, as this project gained pace in the late 2016 thanks to the improved Russian-Turkish relations.

Nuclear safety was our concern particularly in the context of the efforts to extend the lifespan of the Ukrainian nuclear reactors.

Finally, SIS paid attention to the backdrop of certain foreign investments planned in Slovakia and to the economic and security risks associated with them.

2.3.Foreign policy

Ukraine

A source of instability next door, Ukraine was a key priority of our intelligence and analytical work.

We kept our external clients informed about the political and security situation in Ukraine and associated risks to the Slovak Republic. The emphasis was given to the ongoing conflict in the east, political instability and possibility of new sources of tensions.

Unrelenting tensions between lobby groups were observed in Ukraine. Although the situation was temporarily appeased by the abdication of Arseniy Yatsenyuk and appointment of Volodymyr Hroysman’s cabinet in April 2016, the problem of radical distrust between the governing parties was not solved and the intraparty strife continued.

09Activities of radical groups were a substantial risk factor due to the large number of available weapons in this country. There was no substantial shift regarding the conflict in the east. The government forces were unable to reinforce their control over the disputed territories and no progress in the implementation of the agreement on the political solution to the crisis (Minsk 2) was observed. The leaderships of the self-proclaimed republics (Donetsk and Lugansk) continued to build their own administrations, including armed forces. The relations between Ukraine and Russia remained very tense and Russia kept pushing its own notions of how Ukraine should abide by the Minsk 2 agreement.

Russian Federation

Monitoring the situation in Russia, SIS focused on the leadership’s growing power ambitions and assertive advancement of Russian interests in Europe.

The internal political developments, dominated by Vladimir Putin and his close associates’ effort to centralise and consolidate power, were also analysed. We took note of the extensive reform of the security sector, which was crowned by the creation of the National Guard.

Vladimir Putin also made substantial personnel changes in the Presidential Administration and management of federal and regional institutions.

Adoption of economic reforms was very slow as it would mainly affect the poor and would misbalance social peace.

On 18 September 2016, the ruling United Russia party won the election to the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) by a landslide, securing a constitutional majority. The extra-parliamentary opposition, third sector and independent press were on the side-lines and had a low popular support. Low turnout, especially in large cities, was indicating growing apathy of Russians.

SIS observed activities to keep the neighbouring states in the Russian sphere of influence as well attempts to keep the country’s status of power and build multipolar world order. Russia seeks to promote its interests in the post-Soviet space by means of integration groups, ongoing ties to political and economic elites of the post-Soviet states and propaganda.

Russia joined the Syrian war and became the key factor in the survival of the governmental forces. For the Russian army, the operation in Syria was the first large military operation behind the post-Soviet frontier. It confirmed Russia’s status of superpower and position of a key player in the Middle East.

Western Balkans

SIS monitored the situation in the Western Balkans particularly as several countries in this region seek membership of the EU and NATO; the region is characterised by persistent problems connected with interethnic relations, social situation, political instability, corruption and influence of radical Islam (also in the context of Daesh fighters returning to the Western Balkans). The events in the Western Balkan countries increased the level of instability; on hand it results from the EU’s lesser role in the region and on the other, greater involvement of other countries was recorded.

Unstable internal situation persisted in Kosovo. SIS monitored political and security risks connected with opposition’s protests and boycotting of the parliament following the agreements on the demarcation of borders and creation of the Community of Serb Majority Municipalities signed by the Kosovo government with Montenegro and Serbia, respectively. Although some opposition representatives ceased boycott, the stalemate continued as several coalition deputies began to oppose the border demarcation agreement. Some items regarding the Serbian-Kosovar dialogue agreed in the agreement were implemented, yet the problem of creating the Community of Serb Majority Municipalities persists.

The ongoing internal crisis was monitored in Macedonia as several anti-government protests took place in this country in the first half of 2016. Although the parties agreed to hold a snap parliamentary election, the election was repeatedly postponed to a later date because of the non-performance of the agreement. The election finally took place in December 2016. The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) managed to confirm its status of the strongest political entity against the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, the main opposition party, by a very small margin. The Macedonian-Albanian parties reasserted their influence in the election along with their ethnic demands - a situation that will worsen the conditions for ethnic peace in the future.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, SIS focused on the chaotic political and security situation, which was further complicated by the arrest of Fahrudin Radončić, the chairman of the ruling Union for a Better Future of BiH. Stronger nationalist rhetoric before the October regional elections was also noticed. A referendum on the Republika Srpska Day (January 9, the day Republika Srpska was formed), which overlaps with the Orthodox Christmas, was held in Republika Srpska just before the regional elections in spite of the negative stance of the BiH Constitutional Court. Republika’s President Milorad Dodik mobilised the Serbian Orthodox voters on the basis of ethnic and religious affiliations and reinforced the political positions in cities and villages. The way the pre-referendum campaign was held helped increase interethnic tensions in Bosnia.

Crisis and conflict regions

As to the Middle East, SIS focused on the developments in Syria. The service monitored the course of the conflict and the attempts to introduce a political solution. The Russian-Iranian military intervention fundamentally changed the balance of forces in favour of the pro-government camp, while the foreign support to the opposition groups was stalled. In April, the most radical Salafist-Jihadist insurgent factions, specifically the Al-Nusra Front, Iran and the Syrian government thwarted the promising armistice brokered by Russia and the United States, sparking renewed fighting on the key northern front, especially in the city of Aleppo and the northern parts of the province.

The conquer of Aleppo by the pro-government forces in the end of 2016 changed the situation and the insurgents ceased to be the substantial threat to the Syrian government, which has now been politically and militarily stabilised thanks to the intensive support from its allies (Russia, Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah). On the other side, the opposition found itself into a difficult situation, as the level of support and cooperation among the armed groups and the opposition in exile was low; furthermore, there was an intensive conflict between radical groups refusing political dialogue and moderate groups potentially interested in an armistice and negotiations.

The fact that Turkey ended its row with Russia and focused on countering the Kurdish territorial expansion in Syria was a game-changing moment. The Turkish army also pushed Daesh out of the area along the Turkish-Syrian border, which limited the movement of fighters between Europe and Syria. The deepening of the relations was not warmly received by some Turks; this was observed when the Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was assassinated in Turkey in December 2016.

SIS evaluated the situation after the unsuccessful coup in Turkey (15 July 2016), including its effect on the relations between the Turkish leadership and the EU/United States and the fulfilment of the March agreement on migrants and refugees. No serious impact on Slovak interests and security of Slovak nationals in Turkey was observed.

Planning and launching the military campaign against the Daesg stronghold Mosul and the successful small combat operations in the governorate of Al Anbar and the Euphrates valley were the key events in Iraq. Thanks to the continued foreign support and the desire of most domestic actors to drive Daesh out of Iraq, the Mosul operation made significant progress since it was kicked off in November 2016. SIS paid attention mainly to the operation’s complicated political background, specifically different views of the Shia paramilitary units, the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish Autonomy over the arrangement of north-western Iraq once Mosul is liberated.

The situation in Egypt was monitored in the context of the el-Sisi regime and its stability. Critical social and economic situation and unpopular economic reforms raising Egyptians’ dissatisfaction were key factors putting the regime’s long-term stability at risk. Political polarisation of society and prosecution of members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were stimulating radicalisation of part of the population. Furthermore, new militant groups with obscure backgrounds formed up to carry out terrorist attacks on prominent figures of the regime (e.g. Assistant Attorney General Zakaria Abdul Aziz). The Province of Sinai, a Daesh affiliate group, was the gravest threat to the Egyptian and foreign targets, even though its operations were limited mostly to the northern part of the peninsula.

SIS monitored and evaluated the situation in Libya, where power struggle had escalated between the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli and the rival parliamentary government supported by the armed groups around General Khalifa Haftar in Tobruk. The implementation of the December 2015 political deal to solve the internal crisis eventually failed.

While the position of eastern Libyan elites was greatly improved when they took control of the oil industry in eastern Libyan regions, the popularity and authority of the Tripoli government decreased because of the Libyans’ poor social and economic situation and extremely unstable security situation in the country. Still, the local armed groups and their coalitions were those who had real control of the Libyan territory.

Although the successful counterterrorist operation of Libyan forces against the stronghold of Daesh’s Libyan affiliate in and around Sirte frustrated Daesh’s expansionist plans in North Africa, the Islamist militant groups scattered around the country remained active. Unstable Libya without centralised government became haven for facilitators of illegal migration. Migration influx to the EU was not a priority for Libyan political actors and security forces in 2016, resulting in the fact that the route from Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe via the unprotected Libyan coast became the most popular one with migrants.

SIS monitored situation in Central Asia particularly in respect of the deteriorating security situation in northern Afghanistan after the Province of Daesh (a regional affiliate) was formed in this country. Attention was paid to the group’s ties to local extremist groups and threats associated with the expected return of Jihadi fighters from Syria/Iraq to this region. Russian efforts to improve the status and influence of Russia through intensified security cooperation with Central Asian states were also noticed.

Kazakhstan faced a bout of strikes and violent incidents in Aktobe and Almaty in the spring of 2016. The government took advantage of the incidents to justify the persecutions of opposition political activists and opponents among the high-ranking military/police officers, who purportedly planned to seize power in a violent coup.

In Uzbekistan, developments after the death of President Islam Karimov and rise of the new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev were monitored. With the economic downturn caused by the low price of hydrocarbons and less cash coming from Uzbek workers in Russia, the social and economic situation (of the young population in particular) deteriorated significantly in Uzbekistan. Omnipresent corruption and repressive character of the state made the popular dissatisfaction even worse.

Threats to Western tourists

SIS monitored security threats to Western nationals abroad, particularly in the regions where Slovak humanitarian organisations were active and in the resorts bordering unstable regions. Terrorists preferred easy-to-access places with high concentrations of foreign nationals especially from the West, such as hotels, resorts, sights, shopping malls and restaurants, which became the scene of a number of planned and conducted attacks in 2016.

As to popular destinations, the worst situation was in Turkey, where the government had to cope with three distinct threats at the same time (Kurdish armed separatism, penetration of Jihadi terrorism from Syria and far-left groups). The growing intensity of the conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) contributed to the spread of terrorist attacks from the eastern Kurdish regions to large cities, especially Ankara and Istanbul. Aimed mostly against government targets and Turkish armed forces, these attacks were conducted in busy places and hit random civilians. Another Kurdish organisation, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), threatened with attacks targeting tourism, but eventually focused on attacking government targets in 2016.

Daesh in Syria and its response to tighter measures on the Turkish-Syrian border preventing the movement of fighters and traffic of supplies for Jihadists posed another threat. The Jihadists started to shell places near the Turkish border and attack tourists and foreign nationals in Istanbul regularly in the beginning of 2016. These activities did not directly affect security in the resorts on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, yet the apprehensions of Daesh supporters in cities frequented by tourists (e.g. Antalya and Izmir) sent a warning signal that the organisation also had supporting structures established there.

In Egypt, the political and security situation was tense and a severe long-term risk of terrorist attacks against foreign targets was still present. The Province of Sinai (Daesh regional affiliate group) operated mainly in the north of Sinai as the Egyptian security forces halted their expansion toward important roads and resorts in the south of the peninsula. The security situation in Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab and Hurghada was satisfactory thanks to strict military and police measures. Security was also beefed up in Cairo and at international airports.

SIS noticed a high risk of Daesh exports from Libya into Tunisia. A high number of Tunisians in the ranks of Jihadi organisations abroad (between 3,000 and 6,000 Tunisians fight in Syria, Iraq and Libya, of whom 500 have returned to Tunisia) was a substantial risk factor. Activities of Tunisian extremist groups were limited to southern regions, particularly the Shaambi mountain range, and were manifested mainly through guerrilla attacks against Tunisian security forces. Civilians and foreigners were not among targets in 2016. The government and the security forces heightened their security measures in tourist resorts, public places and reinforced border protection after the attacks on the Bardo National Museum and the Sousse resort in 2015. The rise of violent activities and tighter measures put a strain on the Tunisian security sector.

Prevailing rivalry among the terrorist groups in West Africa and the Sahel region (e.g. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Mourabitoun and Daesh) was manifested in the surprising attacks in places previously considered safe (e.g. Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast). As a result, the risk of attacks also grew in a relatively safe country of Morocco, given the proximity of the Sahel region to the North African countries.

The NGO personnel in conflict zones was threatened by combat operations and could have become hostage to political interests of conflict parties. The personnel in Iraq, for instance, took a huge risk as Daesh broke the defence line of the Iraqi Kurdish militia just 28 kilometres from the Iraqi city of Dohuk, which raised the risk of armed attacks and kidnappings. In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Sudan and Kenya were the most risky countries due to the ongoing armed conflict (South Sudan) and religious extremists who sympathise with Daesh (Kenya).

The threat of attacks on foreign visitors was also heightened in the European (particularly Western) countries that are the prime target of the Daesh terrorist campaign. Transportation, shopping centres and tourist spots with numerous visitors remained targets for religious and ideological reasons (restaurants serving alcohol, night clubs and the entertainment industry) or tactical reasons (crowded, easily accessible and weakly protected places). Presence of people from several countries allowed Jihadists to strike interests of more countries simultaneously. Furthermore, Nice in July and Berlin in December showed that no special means and complicated planning was necessary to carry out attacks on soft targets.

3. Cooperation with state bodies and notification duty

10In 2016, the service cooperated with the other state bodies through formal external liaisons under the Slovak Information Service Act. These bodies included the Office of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Office of the President of the Slovak Republic, the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic, central bodies of the state administration and other Slovak institutions.

The cooperation concerned the following areas: classified information protection, vetting, equipment certification, research and development in the fields of information technology and communications, cryptographic protection of information, protection against the illicit use of information-technical means, legislation and international crisis management.The acquired information was used in for own analytical and operational work. Feedback to SIS intelligence production was particularly important, as it helped improve quality of SIS intelligence.

As to multilateral cooperation on national level, the service played an active role in a number of interdepartmental working groups dealing with counterterrorism, extremism and illegal migration.

Intelligence production for customers

284 intelligence products in all areas of the Strategic Focus were elaborated for our customers in 2016: 154 (or 54 per cent) focused on security, 73 (or 26 per cent) on economy, and 57 (or 20 per cent) on foreign policy.

See the details in the tables and the chart below:

Overview of the intelligence production from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016

4. State of affairs, basic activities and SIS oversight

4.1 Personnel matters

Main indicators

As at 31 December 2016, the total of SIS members accounted for more than 80.86 % of the planned state (a slight decrease when compared to the previous year (82.14 per cent on 31 December 2015)).

The personnel structure according to main demographic characteristics did not change fundamentally from the previous years. Men comprised three fifths and women, two fifths of the personnel. The numbers of younger officers (below 40) and the officers aged from 40 to 50 were almost identical (41 per cent). Seventy per cent of officers had university education (including first-degree university education). Ninety-five per cent of officers were in permanent civil service, less than five per cent in preparatory civil service, and less than one per cent (exactly 0.35 per cent) in temporary civil service.

Several hundred citizens applied for the job of intelligence officer, but only 20 per cent who met the statutory conditions for an intelligence officer and whose profile matched our needs, were included in the admission process. 8.4 per cent succeeded in getting the job, roughly the same percentage as in 2015.

Personnel structure according to the type of civil service, education, sex and age

4.2 Budget spending and technical and material provisioning

Budget spending

Total expenditures accounted for €44,159,249 (€1,000,000 capital expenditures) and total income accounted for €130,000 were approved by the Budget Act 411/2015 for the service in 2016.

The Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic issued five budget measures affecting the total amount of expenses of the service in 2016.

Binding indicators for the service’s budget chapter in 2016

Technical and material provisioning

The funds intended for technical and material provisioning were used mainly for the technical and logistical arrangements in the framework of presidency of several prestigious groups of European intelligence services in 2016, to build the communication infrastructure and information-communication systems, for cryptographic equipment and to renovate/modernise premises, allowing for a higher level of classified information protection. Persistent deficit in material spending prevents necessary information, communication and intelligence technologies from being developed by the service in line with global trends. The actual funds are used mainly to ensure stable operation of the existing information and communication systems.

Without significantly higher capital spending, it is not possible for the service to modernise the intelligence-technical means and information systems or develop cyber protection.

Common expenses were used to cover obligatory and contractual payments, satisfy statutory entitlements, repair and maintain outdated equipment, repair malfunctions of the service’s premises and support intelligence activity. Other expenses were used as necessary to ensure regular functioning of the service.

SIS performed tasks in the technical and material supplies area in accordance with the generally binding and internal regulations taking the need to decrease expenses through adopted measures into account. SIS drew finances from the state budget with the purpose given, efficiency and economy on mind.

4.3 Information-technical means (ITM)

The service submitted 234 requests for using information-technical means in 2016. All were honoured by the court.

Of the 234 approved uses, 158 had been evaluated in respect of reaching the statutory purpose and goal before this report was submitted.

14 placements did not meet the statutory purpose and goal, while 144 did. The remaining 76 placements could not be evaluated, as they were either topical or due to be evaluated within the 30-day period after the withdrawal of the ITM.

Detailed statement on the use of ITM in 2016 (data from before 30/3/2017):

As to the conditions of ITM use, the service fully abides by the Slovak Information Service Act 46/1993 and the Act on the Protection of Privacy Against the Illicit Use of Information-Technical Means 166/2003.

The technical solutions used and strict organisational and control measures make for the legality of ITM placement and prevent unwarranted interference with the service’s surveillance and data storage/archiving systems.

It was learnt after comparing our data with data provided by the Bratislava County Court that the number of requests for enabling the ITM use was the same as the number of granted judicial approvals. Thus, each ITM placement had the judge’s approval and none was illicit in 2016.

4.4 Activities in the context of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council

On 16 September 2016, an informal summit of the European Council attended by 27 heads of state and prime ministers from EU member countries, also known as the Bratislava Summit, was held in the framework of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council (SK PRES). The summit was followed by the meeting of EU prime ministers on 6 - 7 October 2016. Our service provided intelligence protection to the participants during such meetings and contributed to the safety of the meetings. At the same time, the National Security and Analytical Centre (NBAC) adopted special measures to enable early identification of all possible threats to these events since they had been first planned.

SIS measures included a heightened level intelligence and operational activity in the target milieu, continued analysis of open-source information and information from the monitored milieu, and intensive operational communication with foreign partners. SIS and NBAC provided assistance to the administrative vetting of people and companies involved in SK PRES, who sought accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

4.5 Cooperation with intelligence services from other countries

The service cooperates bilaterally with around hundred partner intelligence services from all around the world. The number increases each year.

The services from the EU and NATO countries — particularly the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the United States and V4 countries — were our key bilateral partners in 2016. Cooperation with the Balkan services and services from geographically-remote countries was also very important in respect of meeting the service’s Strategic Focus objectives.

As far as topics are concerned, protection of security, political and economic interests of the Slovak Republic and the relating monitoring of the situation in high-risk and conflict regions remained constant priority. Recent events (migration influx, civil war in Syria, fight against Daesh, growing number of terrorist attacks in Europe) also brought the questions of illegal migration (counterterrorism and counter extremism in particular) to the fore of bilateral cooperation. Given the evolution of the global security situation, eastern Ukraine and Russia were also topical issues. Oher important themes included activities of foreign intelligence services, energy security, proliferation and trafficking in arms, military equipment and dual-use materials. Besides sharing analytical information, SIS participated in several joint exercises, intelligence projects and operations.

As a member of multilateral groups, SIS engaged in multilateral cooperation pursuant to the planned activities and strategic focus. Besides sharing information on the usual business and arranging the service’s experts and top officials’ participation at expert meetings, the cooperation mainly focused on tasks relating to the Presidency of the Slovak Information Service of the Counter-Terrorism Group of EU security services in the second half of 2016.

In the assessed period, SIS also carried out tasks relating to the NATO Civil Intelligence Committee (CIC).

4.6 Legislation and inspection

Legislation

Within the area of legislation, SIS cooperates with ministries, central state authorities and other state bodies. In 2016, SIS commented on 56 documents intended for interdepartmental consultation and raised 16 points of order. The aim of the comments was to draw proposer’s attention to issues arising from real-life application and develop a legal base for proper and effective performance of SIS legal tasks. Within interdepartmental consultations, fundamental comments were discussed during consultation procedures. Some comments SIS had presented were implemented in respective materials.

Among other documents, in 2016 SIS commented on amendments to regulations of the National Security Authority on encrypted protection of information and administrative security, regulation of the National Security Authority on tests for security employees, amendment to the act on stay of aliens, amendment to the act on protection against legalisation of incomes from criminal activity and on protection against terrorism financing, draft bill on international sanctions and amendment to the act on electronic communication as subsequently amended. SIS also elaborated the Code of Practice of the National Analytical and Security Centre (approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic in Resolution 229 of 8 June 2016) and helped elaborate the Code of Practice of the Situation Centre of the Slovak Republic (approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic in Resolution 77 of 24 February 2016).

On 1 January 2016 the Act 444/2015 that amends the Act 300/2005 (Criminal Code) as subsequently amended came into force. The amended Act reacted to the increasing number of threats to security and terrorist activities as well as increased risk of terrorist attacks in some EU member states. Therefore, SIS actively participated in the process of drafting of the Act. To eliminate security risks in this context, the amendment to the Act 46/1993 on the Slovak Information Service as subsequently amended as well as other relevant acts closely related to the tasks SIS performs in the field of countering terrorism and extremism was prepared and constitutionally discussed. In the context of the aforementioned amendment, in 2016 SIS elaborated a set of internal legislative measures and guidelines to provide details in the internal legal regulation and create conditions allowing to put relevant provisions of generally-binding legislation into practice.

Supervision

In the assessed period two inspections were conducted in the field of administrative security, three inspections in the field of security of premises, four inspections in the field of security of technical equipment and two inspections in the field of registry management. The inspections did not reveal breach of generally-binding regulations or SIS internal regulations.

In the first half of 2016 an inspection of the SIS library was conducted.

In the field of state supervision, the inspectors and the medical officer conducted 19 planned inspections – ten state inspections in the field of security and protection of health and security of technical devices, four state inspections focused on fire protection and health. These inspection did not reveal breach of generally-binding regulations or SIS internal regulations.

5. A report on the activity of the National Security and Analytical Centre (NBAC)

11In 2016, the activity of NBAC focused mainly on collecting and assessing information regarding terrorism and other security incidents and security threats to the Slovak Republic and its citizens and forwarding these assessments to the state bodies working at the Centre in order to allow them adopt early measures to maintain security of the state and its citizens, prepare and adopt measures relating to the Presidency of the Slovak Republic of the Council of the European Union (SK PRES) as well as monitor security affairs in the context of the increased number of acts of terrorism in the EU and NATO member states.

Due to the developments in the security field recorded in the previous years (especially abroad) that could have potentially affect the state and its citizens, it is necessary to mention the increased level of interdepartmental cooperation within the centre in terms of both quantity and quality (as the amount of information collected under interdepartmental cooperation shows). This information exchange also significantly contributed to better and speedier factual view on potential impacts of the identified threats on the Slovak Republic as well as cooperation between state bodies of the Slovak Republic in relation to assessing security risks of various entities in the scope of their authority. The recorded developments in the field of information exchange positively affect systematic building of the joint information fund of the Centre that creates favourable grounds for further efficient use of the Centre as one of the effective tools for assessing terrorist and other security threats in the future.

Through own analytical work, the Centre processed and forwarded several security and analytical assessments and analytical overviews on potential security risks. Following the Decision of the Minister of Interior of the Slovak Republic no. 2 regarding the alert level of terrorist threat of 22 March 2016 that increased the alert level to (2) (moderate threat), the Centre processed and forwarded to selected customers in the Slovak Republic recommendations for adoption of preventive measures that may have contributed to the mitigation of the risk affecting standard operation of nuclear facilities in the Slovak Republic.

Following the CoP and in order to eliminate security risks to the Slovak Republic and its citizens, the Centre was instrumental in increased monitoring of security situation in the Slovak Republic during top political events and other mass events of international significance in the country as well as abroad (e.g. 2016 Ski World Cup Jasná, international security conference Globsec, 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, and Longines FEI World Endurance Championship (Šamorín,15 – 18 September 2016).

The simultaneous terrorist attacks in Brussels/Belgium of 22 March 2016, terrorist attack at the Atatürk airport in Istanbul/Turkey of 28 June 2016, attacks in Nice/France of 14 July 2016, Munich/Germany of 22 July 2016 and at the Christmas market in Berlin/Germany of 19 December 2016 tested the readiness of the Centre from analytical, communication and cooperation points of view as well as its ability to coordinate activities of state bodies relating to procedures and adequate measures to maintain security of the state and its citizens and respond to foreign partners’ requests for information. To secure continuous international information exchange regarding development of security threats, the Centre operated in special (24/7) regime for 94 days – besides the aforementioned incidents, also during the attempted coup in Turkey of 15 July 2016, informal meeting of the EU heads of state or government in Bratislava of 16 September 2016, and a potential terrorist threat targeting Slovak interests abroad at the end of 2016. While in 24/7 operation, the Centre immediately reflected to the request to call an operational meeting of the members of the NBAC Council to coordinate activities of state bodies and discuss joint steps of adequate reaction to the threats.

During SK PRES, the Centre actively participated in the vetting process of SK PRES attendees in the Slovak Republic as well as in Brussels. The Centre adopted special measures to identify potential threats to several official foreign meetings in the country on top level, including the informal meeting of the EU heads of state or government that took place in Bratislava on 19 September 2016. In September and October 2016, through presentations given at institutions in Brussels, representatives of foreign partner organisations were informed about positive aspects of interdepartmental information exchange regarding security threats to Slovakia conducted within NBAC.

In 2016, three regular and six extraordinary (due to the grave acts of terror in the EU and NATO member states) meetings of the NBAC Council were called to assess the impacts of the attacks on the country and its citizens. The NBAC Council meetings focused on coordinating work of individual state departments within NBAC, assessing security situation in relation to the country and its citizens, informing Council members on activities carried out by the Centre, assessing the threat level in the Slovak Republic and discussing proposals to elaborate documents relating to activities of the Centre and the Council. In 2016 the NBAC Council approved the new CoP and Rules of Procedure of the Council. During the meeting of 22 March 2016, the NBAC Council recommended the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic and the Minister of Interior of the Slovak Republic to declare a moderate threat alert level.

Based on three years of practical experience, on 8 June 2016 the new CoP was elaborated and approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic in Resolution 229 upon the approval of the Security Council of the Slovak Republic. The new CoP entered into force on 1 July 2016. The new CoP is based on international and domestic developments in the field of security, describes modified procedures for solving new security threats to the country and its citizens, EU and NATO member states, and takes the experience from 24/7 operation following the attacks in Paris of 13 November 2015 into consideration. The new CoP partially anticipates other tasks that may be exerted upon the Centre in relation to top political events and other mass events of international significance in the country.

In the period assessed, the Centre participated at the Expert group for coordinating information and analysis exchange and cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism (est. by the Committee of the Security Council for coordination of intelligence services) and the Permanent interdepartmental working group for assessing threats to nuclear facilities and nuclear equipment and nuclear materials. As one of the tools for efficient information and analysis exchange of initial signals, suspicions and details on terrorism financing and proliferation on interdepartmental level, the Centre actively participated in the process of elaboration of the National risk assessment for legalising criminal income, terrorism financing and proliferation (NHR). The aim of NHR is to define ability of the country or its state bodies to identify the risks of legalisation of criminal income, terrorism financing and proliferation, understand the principles while taking potential threats, vulnerabilities and effects into consideration and adopt effective elimination measures.

Bilateral cooperation was further developed with foreign partners. On multilateral level, the Centre participated at the annual meeting of the informal Madrid Group, where heads of partner security and counter-terrorism centres and counter-terrorism coordinators of EU member states, Scandinavia, North America and Australia are present. As requested by its partners, following the decision of the government of the Czech Republic to establish the Centre for countering terrorism and hybrid threats, NBAC shared its experience regarding the creation and institutionalisation of the framework needed for operation.

The Centre and the professional expertise of individual departments were also utilised for lecturing purposes, aiming at employees of other state bodies. The lectures focused on the areas of cyber-threats in connection with SK PRES, development of the security situation in Syria in connection with the UNTSO peace-keeping mission, Muslim community in the Slovak Republic, paramilitary armed forces in Ukraine, status of Sitcen in the security structure of the Slovak Republic, use of biometric data for intelligence purposes and as a potential threat to aviation in the country.

In the assessed period, the Centre, as requested by several state bodies, continued to organise thematic lectures for employees of state bodies and introduced tasks and operation of the Centre.

As it was necessary to actively react to the constantly changing security situation, and increasing demands and to further standardise activities of the Centre, the Slovak Information Service continued to increase staffing of the Centre.

6. Summary

In 2016 within its competence and within its authorities, SIS was collecting, storing, assessing and providing authorised legal recipients with information, thus fulfilling its tasks in the intelligence and contributing to the protection of the constitutional order of the Slovak Republic, to the security of the state and to the protection and the enforcement of foreign political and economic interests of the Slovak Republic.