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SIS 2019 Annual Report

Bratislava, September 2020
  1. Introduction
  2. SIS Strategic Focus
    1. Economy
    2. Corruption and nepotism
    3. Mismanagement of state and municipal property
    4. Customs, tax and financial frauds
    5. Foreign economic relations of the Slovak Republic
    6. Security
    7. Counterterrorism
    8. Counterespionage
    9. Hybrid Threats
    10. Illegal migration
    11. Countering organized crime
    12. Trading in defense industry products and proliferation
    13. Extremist scene
    14. Pseudo-religious groups
    15. Protection of classified information and security vetting for external applicants
    16. Protection of cyberspace
    17. Foreign policy
    18. Ukraine
    19. Russian Federation
    20. Western Balkans
    21. Crisis and conflict regions
    22. Heightened security threat to Slovak nationals in tourist resorts
  3. Cooperation with state bodies and notification duty
    1. Intelligence production for statutory recipients
  4. Cooperation with intelligence services from other countries
  5. Situation, principal activities and oversight of the Slovak Information Service
    1. Personnel
    2. Main indicators
    3. Spending and material and technical provisioning
    4. Spending
    5. Material and technical provisioning
    6. Intelligence-technical means (ITM) and privacy of telecommunication
    7. Legal framework for ITM use
    8. ITM use in 2019
    9. Legislation and inspection
    10. Legislation
    11. Inspection
    12. Expert state supervision
  6. Report on the Activity of the National Security and Analytical Centre
  7. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The presented report follows up on the 2018 Annual Report of the Slovak Information Service. It informs about the fulfillment of tasks, the results the Slovak Information Service achieved in 2019 and the activities it carried out. The document also contains the 2019 Report of the National Security Analysis Center (NBAC) in accordance with its Statute.

All the findings and evaluations in the part of the report concerned with meeting the individual reporting priorities are based on intelligence obtained and verified by the Slovak Information Service. In 2019, they were delivered to its statutory recipients as products of the SIS’s intelligence and analytical work. The SIS Strategic Focus, which defines the priorities of the service's intelligence and information activities, did not change in the year under review, so the priorities of the service and their implementation were similar to the previous period. The presented report covers exclusively the period of 2019 and does not contain information obtained from intelligence activities in 2020.

The SIS is the guarantor of state intelligence protection in the security system of the Slovak Republic. It actively cooperates with partner intelligence services and international organizations in preventing and eliminating security risks and threats in the common space, to which the Slovak Republic belongs together with the Member States of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).

By fulfilling its tasks in the field of intelligence over the reporting period, the SIS has positively contributed to the intelligence protection of the constitutional system and internal order of the Slovak Republic, to state security, and to protection as well as promotion of foreign policy and economic interests of the Slovak Republic.


2. SIS Strategic Focus

2.1 Economy

Corruption and nepotism

In connection with corruption and nepotism, the focus of the Slovak Information Service in 2019 was mainly on gathering information on the illicit influencing of state and local government officials involved in the process of awarding and executing contracts and issuing various permits. Another priority was to uncover corruption in the financial-administration and law-enforcement bodies.

In the field of law enforcement, the SIS reported on suspected corruption of a prosecutor with close ties to a businessman linked to criminal groups and charged with several serious crimes. The entrepreneur was to use the prosecutor to ensure impunity for members of these criminal groups, for which he allegedly collected bribes from these groups and then handed over a part of these bribes to the prosecutor in question.


Several cases of corruption were recorded among members of the Police Force. The SIS pointed to a former police officer who obtained inside information from the police milieu about persons suspected mainly of economic crime. He misused that information and collected bribes from these offenders, offering in return information on the state of the investigation or the possibility to influence the investigation in their favor. Another case concerned a police investigator who abused his position and demanded bribes from experts in exchange for inviting them to draw up an expert opinion. The SIS also reported on efforts of a member of a criminal group to use contacts to the police to transfer an investigation file in a corruption case to another police department and subsequently influence the investigation in favor of the perpetrator.

The service informed the statutory recipients about a financial administration employee suspected of involvement in cigarette smuggling through the Slovak-Ukrainian state border. The financial administration employee reportedly cooperated with a criminal group. In exchange for bribes, he was to deliberately overlook smuggled contraband cigarettes during inspections of railway wagons coming from Ukraine to Slovakia.

There were cases of corruption concerning decision-making powers of state administration bodies. Suspicions of corruption were identified in cases of granting consent for the use of waste for the purposes of earthworks. An entrepreneur allegedly obtained such permit for his company thanks to contacts with the competent environmental authority. The permit was issued against the law. The SIS reported about a civil servant who demanded and accepted bribes in connection with the recognition and change of boundaries of hunting grounds and game reserves and in situations when fines for breaching the hunting legislation were being negotiated or imposed. The service provided information about a veterinary official who was allegedly bribed by a member of an international criminal group to manipulate documents necessary for exporting cattle abroad, while these documents did not reflect the true state of exported animals.

Corruption was also recorded in connection with the mismanagement of state and municipal assets. According to the SIS, a former central government official signed an unfavorable and pre-agreed machine-maintenance contract with a supplier during his term of office. He subsequently invoiced highly overvalued or fictitious supplies for personal gain. There was another case of alleged corruption of two representatives of a state-owned company during the implementation of a significant construction contract. For a bribe, they reportedly provided the contractor with reimbursement of fictitious services and work beyond the scope approved in the project. Among other things, the SIS informed about suspected corruption by a municipal representative in eastern Slovakia in connection with a contract for thermal insulation of a city-owned building financed mostly from subsidies from the EU funds and the national Budget. The contract was awarded in a manipulated public procurement procedure to a pre-agreed supplier. He is believed to have invoiced the city for overvalued and fictitious supplies with the knowledge of the city mayor, who probably accepted a bribe.

During the period under review, the service also informed the statutory recipients about suspicions concerning corrupt and non-transparent procedures in the judicial system.

Mismanagement of state and municipal property

During the period under review, the service also informed the statutory recipients about suspicions concerning corrupt and non-transparent procedures in the judicial system.


In the given area, the SIS paid particular attention to suspected damage to the economic interests of the state in energy companies. Statutory recipients were informed about persistent problems in connection with the completion of a major nuclear project, in particular about managerial failures, inefficiency and tunneling (stripping of assets), causes of additional increase in project costs and the resulting poor financial situation of the investor, potential safety risks, delayed launch dates for individual units, the investor’s misinforming the Slovak authorities, and the risk of the project not being completed. The SIS drew attention to the unfair practices of a foreign shareholder of a state-owned company in connection with an attempt to shift some responsibility for the insufficient progress of the project to other companies.

The SIS detected efforts to alter purposely the reporting of economic results in a state-owned company doing business in the field of radioactive waste management.

The SIS informed the statutory recipients about suspected machinations in public tenders for the supply of coal to a thermal power plant, and about a water company being stripped of assets by its management. The SIS also informed statutory recipients about the suspected subsidy fraud linked to drawing agricultural subsidies and implementing construction contracts financed by the local government and from the EU funds.

The SIS presented its suspicions that state interests could have been damaged in connection with the unfavorable sale of land at a regional airport, which would jeopardize or impede the operation of the airport.

The service drew attention to the uneconomical management of one of the institutions under the management of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic.

The monitoring of the construction of transport infrastructure revealed risks associated with a consortium involving foreign investors entering public tenders for large construction contracts for building and modernizing the road and railway infrastructure.

The SIS informed its statutory recipients about the safety deficiencies of certain structures along an important section of the D1 motorway under construction and about other suspicions, including possible corrupt practices of the investor's representatives.

Customs, tax and financial fraud

With the objective to protect the state's economic interests, the SIS’ focus was on detecting tax and customs fraud in 2019. Tax fraud, especially fraud related to value added tax, is one of the most prominent sources of illegal income in Slovakia.


Last year, the service sent several reports to tax authorities about organizers of tax fraud who evaded VAT and income tax or unduly benefited from excessive VAT deductions through a network of interconnected companies usually represented by fictitious managing directors and owners. Such fraud often involves actors from other countries, which makes the crime difficult to detect and prove. In some cases, financial-administration staff might have cooperated with tax fraud organizers.

The SIS informed relevant Slovak authorities about an organized group operating in western Slovakia which established commercial companies with “nominee” owners and managing directors. The group used these companies to commit tax fraud by transferring their registered offices — making them fall within the remit of the tax office where they cooperated with a senior employee of the financial administration working for the tax authority in question. He ensured that tax supervision was formal only without examining closely the fraudulently applied excessive VAT deductions. There was a similar group operated by a lawyer who orchestrated tax fraud through a network of companies he controlled, in which persons without knowledge of the companies' business and activities were appointed as statutory representatives. The so-called strawmen came from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and had no assets. Another organized group used foreign nationals as statutory representatives to carry out fictitious business transactions through a chain of companies in order to evade VAT and income tax or improperly claim VAT refunds.


The service provided the statutory recipients with more information about the organized groups committing tax fraud in Slovakia and abroad by making unjustified excessive deductions of VAT and reducing the tax base for other companies for a commission. In one such case, members of a group were also suspected of violent crime and extortion. An employee of a financial institution providing them with information covered by banking secrecy is believed to have cooperated with the group.

Major criminal groups also benefited from the VAT fraud. In the period under review, the SIS reported on the VAT fraud committed through fictitious meat trade. The organizer was associated with a prominent representative of a foreign-speaking organized crime group operating in Slovakia. The SIS also provided information about extensive economic criminal activity of a businessman from western Slovakia, lawfully convicted of tax fraud in the past, who probably managed an organized group suspected of committing mainly tax fraud, money laundering and subsidy fraud. The group probably also cooperated with a prominent member of Eastern European organized crime.

The monitoring of excise duty evasion led to several reports for the statutory recipients concerning the illegal production and distribution of cigarettes. It provided the competent authorities with information on the smuggling of cigarettes and other goods from Ukraine to the Slovak Republic, which is thought to have been executed in cooperation with bribed members of the Police Force and financial administration on both sides of the border. The majority of contraband cigarettes from Ukraine was usually exported to other EU countries, the rest was illegally distributed in Slovakia.

During the period covered by the report, the SIS identified efforts to illegally produce cigarettes in Slovakia. The statutory recipients obtained information on an organized group operating in western Slovakia whose members illegally produced officially unregistered and untaxed cigarettes, and information on an organized group dealing with illegal production and distribution of cigarettes operating in central Slovakia. An organized group with similar activities also operated in the east of Slovakia. It transported illegally imported tobacco mixture through its own transport company to an illegal production facility in another EU Member State, from where it smuggled the already processed tobacco products and cigarettes back into the Slovak Republic. The group legalized their profit by purchasing real estate abroad.

As to the fight against money laundering, the SIS identified efforts of international organized crime groups to involve some Slovak companies and cryptocurrency experts in money laundering and other criminal activities associated with cryptocurrency trading. The service also informed the relevant state authorities about cases of laundering proceeds from tax offences. In one case, illicit proceeds were being legalized by the accused person's lawyer, mainly through investments in real estate. One of the Balkan transnational criminal groups was also financing its real estate investments from the illegal profit it made from drug crime.


The SIS drew attention to the shortcomings identified in the process of confiscating assets of persons convicted of large-scale excise tax fraud and the associated money laundering, mainly through real estate investments.

The co-operation of the SIS with the Criminal Office of the Financial Administration continued also in the field of economic crime in Slovakia. It improved and intensified in 2019. Thus, the volume of information increased significantly and the exchange of information became more efficient.

Foreign economic relations of the Slovak Republic

In the area of foreign economic relations, the SIS focused mainly on the energy security of the Slovak Republic. The priority was to assess the risks of possible cut or reduction of gas supplies to the Slovak Republic via Ukraine in the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 heating seasons. In this context, the SIS analyzed the growing threat of gas transit being redirected outside the territory of the Slovak Republic as well as new opportunities for the Slovak Republic in the gas sector.

Due to the approaching expiration of the contract for the transport of Russian natural gas through the Ukrainian transit network and the fact that the negotiations on a new contract were difficult, the risk of the transit being disrupted in the current heating season after 1 January 2020 was increasing. In the reports to its statutory recipients, the SIS was analyzing the probability of such unfavorable development and possible negative consequences for the energy security and economy of the Slovak Republic. The Russian Federation and Ukraine have finally concluded a gas transit contract for the next five years, markedly reducing the immediate risk of disruption. However, Russia-Ukraine relations in the gas sector have been complicated for a long time, therefore, the SIS will continue to monitor closely their further development.


The future of gas transit through Ukraine and the Slovak Republic is closely related to the construction of new gas pipelines for transporting Russian gas to Europe and distributing it in individual European countries (Nord Stream 2, Turkish Stream, efforts to build an interconnector between the Czech Republic and Austria). Therefore, the SIS analyzed the current development and consequences of building alternative gas pipelines in Europe in the context of energy security and economic interests of the Slovak Republic.

The possible reactions of the Russian Federation to international sanctions and changes in the global energy market were also of interest to the service.

The SIS paid attention to the developments in the Ukrainian gas sector in order to identify the risks that could jeopardize the transit of gas through Ukraine.

In addition to energy security issues, China’s growing global economic influence, its assertive investment policy and the possible consequences of this development for the Slovak Republic have become a priority for the SIS with regard to foreign economic relations.

2.2 Security


In the context of potential terrorist threats, the SIS assessed the security situation in the Slovak Republic in 2019 as stable, without major changes in comparison to previous years. The SIS did not record any activities in the territory of the Slovak Republic indicating a specific and immediate terrorist threat.

The level of the terrorist threat in some Western European countries remained high despite the fact that the number of large-scale, successfully completed attacks, was following a decreasing trend. The greatest security risk for European states continued to be posed by self-radicalized individual actors, militants/Islamists inspired by the jihadist propaganda, especially Daesh (Islamic State) supporters willing to retaliate against Western, Christian and tourist targets in response to the loss of its territory (Caliphate) in Syria and Iraq.

The likelihood of a more serious terrorist attack in the EU has increased since the attacks on Muslims in mosques in New Zealand on March 15, 2019. In this context, the SIS alerted its statutory recipients to the increased risk of terrorist attacks in European countries during the spring religious holidays against religious premises and gatherings in retaliation for the attacks on mosques.


In April 2019, such attack took place in Sri Lanka, an area previously unattractive for and without incidents carried out by terrorist organizations, but extremely attractive for tourists from the West. A total of 258 people, including 18 Europeans, were killed during a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Daesh supporters on luxury hotels and Catholic churches during Easter Sunday.

The service continued to analyze Daesh's capabilities and goals following its military defeat in Syria and Iraq. It informed the external statutory recipients about the organization's new global strategy with a focus on assessing security risks in the EU and the interests of European states in the operational areas of Daesh branches.

The SIS also drew the statutory recipients' attention to the growing potential of a terrorist threat posed by the Al-Qaeda Core, as well as to the impact of jihadist media propaganda in virtual space where both Daesh and al-Qaeda were declaring their continued interest in terrorist attacks in the West.

Following the elimination of the Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by the US military in Syria in the fall of 2019, the service prepared an assessment for its statutory recipients, dealing with a possible impact of this event on the level of terrorist threat to Europe. The SIS also assessed the probability of potential security incidents during events of international significance in the Slovak Republic and the Christmas and New Year season. In this context, the SIS informed the statutory recipients about the possible targets and ways of carrying out the potential attacks in Europe and Asia in response to the death of the Daesh leader, which were intensively called for by the jihadist propaganda of Daesh and its supporters.

In the period under review, the SIS also analyzed the development of Islamist terrorism in the Western Balkans region, focusing on potential security risks to the Slovak Republic arising from the activities of supporters of radical interpretation of Islam from this area.

Despite the fact that the SIS has not noticed a significant impact of the foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) phenomenon in the Slovak Republic yet, it has paid due intelligence attention to it, mainly because of the security threats the Slovak Republic may face if the FTFs of European origin and their family members being held in prisons or camps in Turkey and Syria return.


The Muslim community in the Slovak Republic has long maintained a moderate character. In the evaluated period, there were only rare and isolated cases of radical verbal or online expressions, especially by some representatives representing a minority orthodox part of the Slovak Muslim community.

The terrorist attack of March 15, 2019, aimed at Muslims in New Zealand and the subsequent massive media response of the spiritual authorities of the Muslim world resonated within the Muslim community in Slovakia in 2019. The majority of the community reacted reservedly, without significant negative and anti-social behavior.

In 2019, the SIS actively participated in ensuring the safety of the 83rd World Ice Hockey Championship in the Slovak Republic. In this context, the service provided several analytical and intelligence products to its statutory recipients and provided intelligence protection of selected premises. At the same time, it communicated intensively with several foreign partner intelligence services.

In connection with the Slovak Presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the SIS implemented several intelligence and security measures to ensure the smooth running of events in the Slovak Republic, such as the annual OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, which took place in the INCHEBA EXPO Bratislava exhibition center from December 2 to December 6, 2019.


In line with its strategic focus, the SIS monitored the activities of foreign intelligence services directed against the interests of the Slovak Republic and its allies, focusing mainly on Russian and Chinese intelligence services.

The activities of Russian intelligence services were directed against the protected interests of the Slovak Republic as a member of the EU and NATO. Russian intelligence officers, active in the Slovak Republic mainly under diplomatic cover, sought to infiltrate the central state administration bodies and security forces as well as acquire collaborators in the energy and military sectors. They regularly attended professional events focused on energy and military issues, where they tried to establish contact with persons of interests having access to sensitive classified information related to the EU and NATO, as well as with persons who are close to the constitutional representatives.


The activities of Chinese intelligence services focused mainly on obtaining information in the field of information and telecommunication technologies. The SIS reported on these activities with regard to possible security risks and threats to national security. The Chinese intelligence services were assertively active mainly in connection with representatives of a major Chinese telecommunications company. The interest of this company in the Slovak Republic is focused on several areas. In the period under review, the telecommunications company established and then developed relations with employees of several ministries.

During 2019, the attention of foreign intelligence officers was also on the election of the President of the Slovak Republic and the elections to the European Parliament. The SIS provided relevant intelligence to its statutory recipients.

Foreign intelligence services were also interested in the events connected with the Slovak presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), especially those with political-military or security dimensions.

In the evaluated period, the priorities of foreign intelligence services were topics such as arms control, visits of Slovak top officials to Ukraine and the Balkans, participation of Slovak top officials in the inauguration of the newly elected President of Ukraine and cyber security.

Intensive cooperation between the SIS and partner services, which covered a wide range of activities from the exchange of information to the implementation of joint projects, played a key role in ensuring protection against the activities of foreign intelligence services in the Slovak Republic.

As part of preventive counter-espionage measures, the service continued to take active part in specialized preparatory training of seconded diplomats and staff of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. In the course of 2019, the SIS also intensified this kind of cooperation with the Presidium of the Police Force, where it carried out counter-espionage preparatory trainings for police attachés who were to be sent abroad.

Hybrid Threats

During the reviewed period, the SIS continued to monitor non-military threats, i.e. threats that occur when e.g. state actors are seeking to weaken or influence another state using a combination of different non-military means (propaganda, diplomatic, political and economic pressure, intelligence, or even diversionary or armed activities).

An EU/NATO member state, the Slovak Republic faced mainly the influence campaigns of foreign powers that centered on weakening the political cohesion of both integrational organizations with an aim of subverting their unity, their ability to act and defend themselves. Foreign actors focused on influencing the elite, professional community and general public in order to invoke distrust of these international organizations and question the Allies' willingness to meet their solidarity commitment arising from membership of these organizations.


The primary source of campaigns aimed at discrediting the EU and NATO were Russian sources (official media, state institutions, think tanks or experts), which formed the strategic orientation of this communication. Their messages were subsequently adopted by the similarly oriented media and organizations in European countries. Pro-Russian citizens’ organizations and groups on social media, Russian news media, including their foreign branches, and the so-called alternative media were the most active ambassadors of pro-Russian narratives in the Slovak Republic. As in the previous period, the Russian propaganda largely took advantage of pro-Russian sympathizers, who uncritically adopted and spread these messages out of their own conviction.

The SIS also focused on China's influence activities, mainly demanding strict adherence to the one China policy. The Chinese diaspora and local media are also known to have been used for propaganda. The particular risk factor of Chinese propaganda activities lies in their close connection to Chinese intelligence services. In general, it can be stated that the Chinese Communist Party uses a wide range of organizations for its operations abroad. Their role is to create a positive image of China and its political establishment, as well as actively influence the public and professional opinion in countries where the Chinese Communist leadership has political, economic or security interests.

As to hybrid threats, the SIS, on top of its legal tasks, was active in inter-ministerial working groups, e.g. a working group aiming to develop a coordinated mechanism to combat disinformation, and other relevant projects. The SIS also actively participated in the fight against hybrid threats at the EU and NATO levels, where it provided information support to the relevant structures responsible for the evaluation and analysis of hostile hybrid activities.

Illegal migration

In the context of illegal migration into the European Union, the most significant migratory pressure shifted over the reviewed period from the Western Mediterranean to the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Greece. This was subsequently reflected in an increased transit of illegal migrants through the Balkans. In order to move through this region, illegal migrants used the traditional Balkan migration route. However, at the same time, they were also intensively using the so-called New Balkan Migration Route leading through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Central Europe.

Also thanks to the adopted measures the total number of illegal migrants who managed to enter the territory of the EU states has been stagnant for several years and has not increased in 2019 either.


In response to developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the SIS warned the statutory recipients about the security risks related to the high number of illegal migrants and refugees gathering in Turkey and Greece, who were being encouraged by the mobilization activities of international illegal migration organizers. The SIS continuously monitored and analyzed the media information concerning the alleged planned massive transfer of illegal migrants and refugees through this region within the so-called Caravan of Hope. The service also pointed to the risk of an increase in the number of Syrians headed to Europe through the Balkan region as a result of the Turkish military operation launched in northeastern Syria in October 2019 and an offensive by the Syrian army in the Idlib province.

In comparison with the previous period, the SIS did not identify any significant changes in the intensity of illegal migration in the Slovak Republic. The SIS continuously evaluated the situation in Slovakia and informed the statutory recipients about the activities of specific smuggling groups and the routes used for crossing the Slovak-Ukrainian border illegally.

In 2019, the SIS again identified ongoing efforts by third-country nationals to abuse the legal means of entering the Slovak Republic. The SIS briefed the statutory recipients on the individual cases of so-called pseudo-legal or sophisticated illegal migration. In this context, the SIS repeatedly drew attention to the activities of several Slovak citizens and foreigners with Slovak residence permits, who were involved in the legalization of stays in the Slovak Republic for third-country nationals. Their activity consisted mainly in the speculative mass establishment of companies, issuing invitations to foreigners and providing fictitious certificates of university studies in the Slovak Republic.

The SIS obtained information on the new modus operandi of misusing Schengen visas for entering selected EU target countries and forwarded these findings to the statutory recipients.

Countering organized crime

The SIS priority in the fight against organized crime has long been mainly organized and criminal groups dealing with economic and serious violent crime and the activities of foreign criminal groups in the Slovak Republic.

In regard to the economic crime of criminal groups, the SIS primary focus was on excessive VAT deductions, evasion of income tax and excise duty fraud. Money laundering cases were the service’s another priority.


Following the adoption of new legislation on the obligations of fuel distributors and sellers, the mineral oil-related fraud decreased in 2019. At the same time, however, the SIS noticed an increase in fraud related to tobacco products and other goods smuggled into the Slovak Republic through the Slovak-Ukrainian state border by Slovak-Ukrainian smuggling groups or illegally imported to Slovakia from Ukraine via other EU Member States. Untaxed tobacco products with fraudulent origin markings were also produced in the Slovak Republic in the period under review. Smuggled or illegally produced untaxed tobacco products were distributed in the territory of the Slovak Republic or further transported to EU countries with a higher excise duty on tobacco products.

When it comes to foreign criminal groups, the monitoring of Balkan, Russian-speaking, Vietnamese, Turkish and other transnational organized groups whose activities affect Slovakia, became a priority.

Since 2014, there has been a violent conflict in the Western Balkans between competing Montenegrin-Serbian criminal clans, in which several dozen people have been murdered, with several murders taking place in EU countries. The SIS warned the statutory recipients that these clans have ties to several people living in the Slovak Republic. Thus, there is a risk that violence between members of the Balkan organized crime may occur in our territory.

The so-called "Balkan route" has long been used for importing drugs to Slovakia, in particular heroin from Turkey and cocaine from Latin America. Slovakia is not a destination country for drug supplies, in most cases it is only a transit route for the transport to Western European countries. During the period under review, the volume of cocaine supply through Adriatic ports increased. The drugs were subsequently smuggled by Balkan criminal groups into the EU.

Traditional types of natural product-based drugs in Slovakia are gradually being replaced by cheaper synthetic drugs, often of domestic origin. The situation is similar in other Central European countries. To a lesser extent, synthetic drugs, as well as precursors for their production, enter the Slovak Republic from Western European countries or Ukraine.

Foreign criminal groups try to take advantage of business activities of Slovak citizens and Slovak companies owned by foreigners living in Slovakia to commit economic crime and launder the proceeds of crime. Transport companies operating in international transport were often used for cross-border crime, in particular drug trafficking.


Fictitious business activities, fictitious employment in companies and arranging residence for individuals connected to organized crime were one form of organizing sophisticated illegal migration. These forms of migration allow foreigners from high-risk regions (e.g. the Middle East, the Western Balkans, the Caucasus region, etc.) whose previous activities in their native countries pose a security risk to the Slovak Republic to enter Slovakia and other EU countries. A large percentage of foreigners from developing countries who obtained a residence permit in the Slovak Republic under the pretext of doing business usually do not perform any real business activity, nor do they produce any benefit for the Slovak Republic.

Regarding violent crime, the SIS informed the statutory recipients on perpetrators of several murders and clients who ordered them, perpetrators of muggings and thefts, and contacts of an internationally wanted member of a criminal group. The SIS also informed the statutory recipients on a prosecuted entrepreneur who was accused of serious economic crimes and procurement of murders connected to his illegal activities associates, contacts with representatives of state institutions and coercion he applied towards various entrepreneurs. The service also collected intelligence about mutual blackmailing among members of the criminal underworld.

As to the lesser forms of criminal activity of crime groups, the service provided information e.g. on illicit possession of firearms, dangerous threats, efforts of several convicted criminals to avoid a custodial sentence, and residence and contacts of wanted persons. In the process of detecting drug crime in the Slovak Republic, the service obtained information about the production of a synthetic drug (in which persons engaged in drug distribution are believed to have participated), the spread of the new Herba drug, the large-scale marijuana growing in the Slovak Republic and the distribution of banned anabolic substances.

The operation of transnational organized crime in Slovakia and the EU has been the subject of bilateral and multilateral international intelligence cooperation.

Trading in defense industry products, and proliferation

In 2019, the SIS continued to collect intelligence about illicit trade in defense industry products (DIP), firearms trade and paid attention to the proliferation of dual-use items and other hazardous materials. When a breach of the law or a threat to the interests of the Slovak Republic were detected, the information was forwarded to the statutory recipients so that necessary measures could be taken on their part. The SIS continued to work intensively with partner intelligence services. The service analyzed business transactions, handling of controlled and high-risk goods, technologies and services in the Slovak Republic, as well as activities of Slovak citizens and companies abroad.

The service was particularly interested in the DIP trade concerning products exported abroad. These were mainly the transactions carrying the risk of further re-export to countries or entities to which the Slovak state authorities would not issue an export license, as it would contravene the interests and international obligations of the Slovak Republic. The primary goal of SIS intelligence activities was to ensure that the Slovak Republic would not export the DIP that would through intermediaries illegally end up in conflict zones, embargoed countries or even in the hands of terrorists. In this regard, there was intensive cooperation with relevant Slovak authorities, and not only within the licensing procedure for approving license applications. Also in 2019, the different procedures of EU member states in issuing export licenses were identified as a serious problem. The problems lay mainly in the insufficient information exchange between relevant state institutions of individual countries. Certain adverse information on a specific business case was often obtained in one member state, while the export from the EU territory was to take place from another member state which did not have the crucial information determining the export permit for DIP.


In 2019, the service identified heightened efforts to export DIP for end users in conflict zones. More and more Slovak companies tried to participate in these transactions, carried out through intermediary countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In several cases, Slovak companies claimed that they had no information indicating that the planned deliveries were to end up in a high-risk country and insisted that there were no legal obstacles as to why these transactions should not be approved. In these cases, the intermediary countries largely issued an end-user certificate (EUC) to Slovak companies, thus confirming the goods were intended exclusively for the use on their territory, or for their armed forces.

In 2019, the SIS issued opinions on 773 license applications for foreign trade in DIP, 90 applications in connection with trade in designated products whose possession is restricted for security reasons, and 9 license applications for export of dual-use items.

In the area of export control of dual-use items and other high-risk goods, the SIS assessed the situation and procedures of Slovak authorities as being uncoordinated. One problem is that the representatives of relevant authorities lack awareness of proliferation. The service has concluded that awareness of the risks associated with the proliferation of dual-use know-how in the Slovak Republic is currently at a low level mainly due to the lack of qualified civil servants in this field.


The SIS’ focus was also on the financing of proliferation activities and identifying financial transactions that are subject to international sanctions. In this regard, the SIS has been actively involved in multilateral intelligence cooperation.

The service also focused on the acquisition and trafficking of category D firearms (e.g. Flobert, gas or percussion firearms). Some category D firearms are modified firearms originally classified as category A that can be illegally converted to live firearms. The frequently described modus operandi of illegal modification of category D firearms originally from the Slovak Republic into live firearms was preserved in the evaluated period. The Slovak firearms legislation keeps causing problems in the neighboring countries, for which the Slovak Republic remains one of the main sources of illegally modified firearms. In this context, the SIS made a number of comments on the proposed legislative changes.

Regarding category D firearms, the SIS has long cooperated with NAKA, a criminal agency within the structure of the Presidium of Police Force, as well as with partner intelligence services. The subject of the cooperation is mainly the exchange of information on high-risk purchases of firearms by foreigners in the Slovak Republic. On the basis of the intelligence provided by the service, several police operations were carried out abroad during which illegal firearms were seized.

Extremist scene

As for the combating of extremism in the Slovak Republic in the period under review, the SIS recorded ongoing activities of leaders of the Slovak far-right (XRW) scene to strengthen their influence on the political scene and in social life by running in presidential elections and elections to the European Parliament, as well as through activities related to elections to the National Council of the Slovak Republic.

To address the voters, the main representatives of the XRW scene again pointed to the problems of coexistence between the majority population and the Roma minority, criticizing the attitudes and activities of the EU, including its migration policy. Criticism of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community was also a frequent topic.

The SIS paid increased attention to the reactions of Slovak XRW supporters to the terrorist attack in New Zealand carried out on March 15, 2019, and informed its statutory recipients on the circumstances of Brenton Tarrant’s (Australian national and perpetrator of the attack) visit to the Slovak Republic in 2016. The service pointed to the fact that the attacker did not establish any personal contacts with representatives of the Slovak XRW scene during his stay in the Slovak Republic. The service drew the statutory recipients’ attention to the increasing level of radicalization on the XRW scene in Europe, which manifested itself as a new phenomenon during the reviewed period — that is individual violent/terrorist attacks by supporters of the far-right ideology without direct organizational support from traditional XRW organizations.

The SIS also monitored activities of members of an unregistered paramilitary training organization, which were focused mainly on intensive recruitment of new members and improving the level of training of individual units. The supporters of the group in question also responded to the Roma issues in their activities, namely through establishing so-called anti-Roma patrols in Smižany and Richnava (villages in the district of Spišská Nová Ves), where violent incidents between members of the Roma community and members of the majority occurred. In 2019, the SIS noticed public statements by representatives of this unregistered organization through an officially registered citizens association on various political and social issues, indicating political ambitions of its leaders.

In the evaluated period, the SIS recorded several XRW incidents of radical fans (aka hooligans), which took place mainly at football stadiums during domestic top-league matches and in European club competitions, while violent clashes outside the stadiums were also recorded.


In 2019, the XRW supporters did not organize any international performance of XRW bands in the Slovak Republic and significantly limited the organization of concerts of Slovak XRW bands, probably due to measures taken by security forces in the Slovak Republic, which caused the Slovak XRW bands and their supporters to focus on performances organized abroad.

The SIS did not identify any significant changes on the far-left scene (XLW) during the period under review. In addition to the traditional criticism of representatives of the Slovak far-right scene and emphasizing the protection of the rights of foreigners and the LGBTI community, one of the most visible activities of the Slovak XLW scene was an attempt to disrupt public election meetings of candidates representing far-right parties.

During the period under review, the SIS noticed an increased interest of XLW leaders in environmental issues (especially the protests against brown coal mining and combustion).

XLW officials also responded to Turkey's invasion of Syria (Operation "Peace Spring" of October 9-13, 2019) by organizing several largely peaceful public events in support of the Syrian Kurds.

Pseudo-religious groups

In 2019, the SIS collected information about activities of harmful sectarian groups and pseudo-religious communities in the Slovak Republic.

The SIS informed its statutory recipients about the ongoing efforts of a high-risk pseudo-religious group to penetrate the educational process of children and youth through a citizens association focused on combating drug abuse. The association organized antidrug lectures at primary and secondary schools. With the support of well-known personalities of cultural and sporting life from the Slovak Republic, who probably did not know about the connection between the association and the pseudo-religious group in question, it again implemented a media campaign aimed at obtaining financial support and spreading the positive message about its activities. To increase the chances of penetrating primary and secondary schools in Slovakia, another citizens association connected to the pseudo religious group restored its activities in 2019. In this context, the service informed its statutory recipients about the covert promotion of the group’s ideology through an educational brochure on crime prevention. During the period under review, the SIS provided information on the group's influence in certain private companies owned or managed by its followers, as well as its efforts to penetrate the public sphere.


The service recorded the ongoing attempts by representatives of another religious community to influence the process of its registration, for instance through prominent personalities from the Slovak Republic and abroad. The group continued to engage in the project of resocializing drug addicts, with an intention to recruit new members and promote the charitable dimension of the group’s activities. The SIS informed its statutory recipients about the group’s funding, efforts to spread its ideology with the participation of representatives who came to Slovakia from abroad, as well as its activities involving controversial ceremonies. People without religious beliefs and especially young people were the primary target groups to expand the group’s membership base.

Protection of classified information and security vetting for external applicants

In 2019, the SIS participated in the security vetting performed by the National Security Authority (NBÚ), Military Intelligence and the Police Force. Information on the security credibility of the proposed candidates and entrepreneurs was provided to relevant applicants to the extent stipulated by the Act No. 215/2004 Coll. on the Protection of Classified Information, as amended.

The SIS also participated in the process of assessing the reliability of persons vetted according to Section 14(4) of the Act No. 473/2005 Coll. on the Provision of Services in the Area of Private Security and on the amendment of certain laws (Private Security Act) and by providing statements at the request of the Transport Authority’s Civil Aviation Division to assess the credibility of persons vetted under Section 34a(5) of the Act No. 143/1998 Coll. on Civil Aviation, as amended.

The SIS also provided statements under Section 5(2 and 4) of the Act No. 392/2011 Coll. on Trading in Defense Industry Products to the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic in respect of company applications for licenses to trade and mediate deals in defense industry products.


In 2019, at the request of the Public Administration Section of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic and in accordance with Section 8a(3) of the Act No. 40/1993 Coll. on Citizenship, the SIS sent opinions on 565 applicants for Slovak citizenship containing facts relevant for decision-making under this Act (on identified security risks or obstacles to the public interest or the absence of information that would indicate an obstacle to the grant of Slovak citizenship).

In 2019, at the request of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic and in accordance with Section 19a(9) of the Act No. 480/2002 Coll. on Asylum, the SIS carried out administrative vetting of 207 persons.

The SIS carried out administrative vetting of 34,188 persons at the request of the Border and Foreign Police of the Police Force Presidium under Section 125(6) of the Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on Foreigners’ Residence.

The number of asylum seekers and applicants for residence in the Slovak Republic is constantly growing mainly due to labor migration and the security situation in crisis regions: Ukraine, the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, the number of security checks of asylum seekers and applicants for residence in the Slovak Republic had increased by 58% from 2017. In 2019, it increased by almost 30% from 2018.


In 2019, the SIS initiated a meeting of representatives of state institutions in charge of processing foreign nationals’ applications for residence, asylum or additional protection (the Military Intelligence Service and the Border and Foreign Police) in order to create a new system of electronic communication between individual ministries. With institutions being interconnected electronically, the SIS could speed up the process of administrative vetting.

In connection with the Slovak Presidency of the OSCE organized in the Slovak Republic, the SIS also participated in the screening of participants from high-risk countries. In 2019, a total of 1,039 persons were screened in connection with the Presidency. The SIS also took part in the screening of persons in connection with the meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bratislava (May 31–June 3, 2019).

Protection of cyberspace

When it comes to cyber security, the SIS’ focus was on fulfilling its obligations under the Act No. 69/2018 Coll. on Cyber Security, where it acts as a central body in the structure of public bodies. The SIS acts as a CSIRT unit and as such is currently creating one of the four CSIRT units, which is to heighten the protection of strategic areas of state administration. [1] In this context, the service also actively participated in the implementation of the National Project: National Cyber Security Incident Management System in the Public Administration.

In 2019, the SIS alerted the competent authorities to the communication between a Slovak authority’s computer network and a server infected with Snake/Turla, a malicious APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) code used for electronic espionage.


In the framework of international cooperation, the service dealt mainly with problems of building 5G networks, especially in the context of potential threats to their stability, integrity and functionality, which is determined by the network security elements and the set of components making up the network. Cases when servers located in the Slovak Republic were misused for illegal activities in global cyberspace were also the subject of international intelligence cooperation.

[1] Under the Act No. 69/2018 Coll. on Cyber Security, the SIS is responsible (within its remit) for ensuring cyber security within the SIS, which may be implemented by means of establishing and operating an accredited Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). The creation and actual implementation of the CSIRT workplaces is financed from the EU funds via the Management System of the European Structural and Investment Funds.

2.3 Foreign policy


Regarding foreign policy, the SIS has long been monitoring and evaluating the security situation and internal events in Ukraine, including on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR).

The internal development in 2019 was very dynamic and characterized mainly by the escalating rivalry of candidates before the presidential election. The then President Petro Poroshenko took every step to secure a next term in office for himself, but his effort only managed to get him to the second round of the election. People’s dissatisfaction with corruption, the unsatisfactory socio-economic situation, the reforms without results and the ongoing conflict in the east of the country brought a landslide victory to Volodymyr Zelensky, a newcomer on the Ukrainian political scene. Zelensky's strong mandate to implement the new policy and fulfill the declared goals, particularly the fight against corruption and the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, was also confirmed by the convincing victory of his Servant of the People party in the early parliamentary election.

The SIS continued to monitor developments in the DPR and the LPR, where efforts to revive the economy are failing and the socio-economic and humanitarian situation of the population is not improving.

The service paid special attention to the reactions of the Russian Federation to the election of Zelensky as president of Ukraine. The Russian Federation has tailored the way it advances its interests in Ukraine to the changing political reality of Ukraine, the result of which is a slight improvement in mutual relations and a certain shift toward the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Thanks to it, the revival of contacts in the Normandy Four and the withdrawal of forces from three pilot areas on the contact line in December 2019, the security situation in the conflict zone in the east of the country calmed down slightly, but remained unstable and had the potential to escalate rapidly.


Russian Federation

The SIS also paid attention to internal developments in the Russian Federation (RF) and their impact on Russia’s foreign-policy activities, with an emphasis on Russia’s efforts to maintain its influence in the so-called Near Abroad and relations with the Euro-Atlantic community, which the Russian Federation continued to see as a threat to its political and security interests.


Vladimir Putin's presidential administration responded to the continued latent dissatisfaction of the people with the economic situation in Russia by taking the social measures aimed primarily at improving living standards while simultaneously imposing the laws restricting freedom of expression, including restrictions on the Internet and tightening the legislation against "foreign agents".

The political and security situation in the Russian Federation was stable in the period under review. More significant protests were recorded only before the regional elections in Moscow in September 2019, when dissatisfied Muscovites protested the exclusion of liberal opposition candidates from the electoral process. A new element emerged on the Russian political scene. There were cases when opposition groups united in the vote for a candidate with the best chances of succeeding against the nominee of the ruling United Russia party. The SIS analyzed the processes of gradual generational replacement in the president’s wider circle of associates and their possible impact on internal developments and Russia’s future foreign-policy orientation.

Regarding Russia's foreign policy, the SIS focused mainly on Russia’s relations with countries in the post-Soviet space, which Russia seeks to keep inside its zone of influence. In 2019, Belarus resisted Russia's efforts at closer integration within the Union State of Russia and Belarus. In Moldova, the influence of the Russian Federation strengthened during the period under review. Tensions persisted in Russia's relations with Ukraine and Georgia. Contrarily, the traditionally good ties with Kazakhstan continued even after the controlled replacement of the president. The SIS also monitored Russia’s relations with China and activities in Syria and Venezuela, activities related to the Iranian nuclear program, and efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Western Balkans

The SIS monitored and evaluated the situation in the Western Balkans especially in the context of the Euro-integration efforts of countries in the region and persisting problems caused mainly by the poor inter-ethnic relations and political instability. These problems were often intensified by the widespread corruption in the public sector and the preference of personal and special interests over the interests of individual states and their people by top political leaders.

The SIS paid attention to the region primarily to be able to inform objectively its statutory recipients, but much of the acquired knowledge was also used in the intensive bilateral cooperation with the partner services and during the SIS presidency of the NATO Civilian Intelligence Committee.

In Serbia, the SIS monitored particularly the domestic political situation related to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, the activation of the opposition circles, the anti-government protests and preparations for the 2020 parliamentary election. The Serbian government’s foreign policy strived for balancing the relations between the Russian Federation and Western countries during the period under review, while Russia clearly made efforts to increase its influence in Serbia.


In the Serbian province of Kosovo, the SIS monitored the difficult situation in its northern part due to increased tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. The service also paid attention to the early parliamentary election won by the opposition Vetëvendosje movement. Due to the unfavorable political situation, the agreement on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo continued to be delayed and the risk of security incidents persisted.

In North Macedonia, the SIS monitored mainly the country's internal developments and the processes of changing the country's name after the Prespa Agreement. These processes were also linked to the successful conclusion of the country's NATO accession negotiations. The SIS also monitored the course of the presidential election and the serious corruption scandal in the judicial field, which became a catalyst for growing public dissatisfaction with the Zoran Zaev government. Another serious complication for North Macedonia’s government was the EU's decision not to give North Macedonia (and Albania) a date for the start of EU accession talks. The issues in question led to calling an early parliamentary election, which will take place in 2020.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the SIS analyzed the complicated internal and economic situation, the presence of elements of radical Islam and the overall security situation in the country. On the internal scene, efforts to form government structures continued following the October 2018 parliamentary elections. The SIS monitored Bosnia’s foreign policy and efforts at Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as development of its relations with other countries in the region and beyond (especially with Turkey and Russia). The service concerned itself with events in the Bosnian intelligence community. The service’s focus was also on the ongoing activities of supporters of radical Islam in Bosnia and the issue of returnees from combat in Syria.

In Montenegro, the SIS focused on the country's EU accession process. Attention was paid to the internal situation with emphasis on activities of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which faced a discrediting campaign and recurring civil protests organized by the opposition throughout the year. Relations between Montenegro and Serbia were also monitored. They intensified by year’s end after the Montenegrin government adopted the so-called Freedom of Religion Act meant to regulate the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, among other things.

Crisis and conflict areas

The situation in the Middle East continued to be characterized by internal instability in several countries, ongoing conflicts, competition between regional actors for dominant influence in the region and intervention by external actors. In this context, the SIS monitored the most serious effects of this situation, particularly the conflict in Syria, growing tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies, the conflict between the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army in Libya, and developments in Egypt.


The ruling regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria continued to consolidate its power and take steps to raise funds for the regime's needs, including through a series of unprecedented actions against members of the economic elite. Neighboring Turkey was also intensely involved in Syrian events, mainly due to their impact on the internal and security situation. Turkey's Operation Peace Spring in Syria was rather limited and its primary objective was to weaken the position of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the dominant armed and political representative of the Syrian Kurds, and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG). Despite the deteriorating economic situation in the country, the Syrian regime continued to refuse to take steps toward political transition that Western countries set as a precondition of development aid.

In Iran, the SIS noted a deteriorating economic situation in the country after the United States withdrew from the agreement on Iran's nuclear program and imposed extensive economic sanctions, including sanctions on Iranian oil export. In response to the sanctions, Iran sought to resolve the situation through diplomacy and coercive measures. The country was not interested in initiating a direct conflict with the United States and resorted to the use of proxy actors, attacking interests of countries it perceived as the executors of the US policy in the region. In September 2019, Iran sponsored an attack by Yemeni insurgents on one of the largest oil refineries and a large oil field in Saudi Arabia, warning the US allies in the Persian Gulf that the threat to Iranian oil production could affect their own oil industry. The United States responded to the situation by strengthening further its presence in the Gulf region, while Iran mobilized its proxy actors e.g. in Iraq, to launch attacks against the US presence in the country.

In Egypt, the SIS monitored the domestic political situation in the context of maintaining stability of the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi government, and stability of the ruling regimes in other Arab countries in the Mediterranean. In 2019, the Egyptian government continued to strengthen its position, particularly by adopting a new constitution and strict control of the media. In the period under review, Egypt succeeded in restoring its position as a regional power and leader of the Arab world, which was attributed to the president’s active foreign policy. The security situation in mainland Egypt improved, but terrorist groups active in the country were still able to adapt to the changing situation and intensify their activities in favorable conditions. Therefore, the threat of terrorist attacks continued to be assessed as high in Egypt, especially in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, where the local Daesh affiliate Sinai Province gained support of the local Bedouin population. The primary sources of the heightened risk of destabilization in Egypt were concentration of power in the hands of the president and persisting problems in the socio-economic sphere.


Libya continued to be the epicenter of the crisis in North Africa in 2019. It was the source of instability for a wider region and one of the key starting points for illegal migrants travelling to the EU. The situation in the country was complicated fundamentally by the armed offensive in April 2019, which was carried out by Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), and launched to conquer the capital Tripoli and eliminate the internationally recognized Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli. As a result of the attack on Tripoli, the process of preparing for elections and adopting the new Constitution under the auspices of the United Nations was interrupted, which greatly reduced chances of an early political solution to the crisis and made de-escalation of tensions among Libyan factions extremely difficult. The rivalry of power centers in the west and the east of the country, conditioned by ideological contradictions and differing economic interests, as well as the mutual antipathy between Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, hindered the revival of the peace process and stabilization of the country. A significant destabilizing factor was the rivalry of foreign actors pursuing their geopolitical and economic interests in Libya through support to their allies. Chaos and tensions in the country created the conditions allowing terrorist organization Daesh to consolidate its position in Africa through its members coming to Libya from the war zones in Syria and Iraq. Their presence in Libya and the permeable borders of the Sahel countries posed not only a local and regional threat, but were also assessed and monitored as a potential security threat to Europe.

The domestic political situation in Turkey was marked by strong antagonism between government forces and opposition forces. The SIS reported on a fierce pre-election campaign before the municipal elections (March 2019), which deepened the polarization even more. Increased attention was paid to changes in Turkey's bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, the United States and the EU. During the period under review, Turkey was looking at its relations with the EU primarily through the lens of their importance to the Turkish economy and continued to use the migration issues to get its own demands fulfilled, especially when it comes to (financial and diplomatic) support for the return of Syrians from Turkey to Syria. Tense relations with the United States relating to the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-missile system became aggravated even more following the Peace Spring military operation in northeastern Syria (October 2019) and Turkish cooperation with the Russian Federation in creating the so-called security zone. On the other hand, tensions with the Russian Federation were also caused by Turkey's reluctance to allow the conquest of the province of Idlib, which is controlled by anti-government insurgents, by Syrian troops.

Heightened security threat to Slovak citizens in tourist destinations

The service also monitored security threats to Slovak citizens abroad. It analyzed and evaluated the security situation in selected countries adjacent to crisis and conflict zones and in countries where terrorist groups are active. Egypt, Tunisia and in part also Turkey are the countries where terrorist groups with sufficient capacity and open intention to attack Western targets are active. They were identified as the countries running a higher risk of incidents with a terrorist background. The threat of attacks in these countries was to some extent balanced by the attention of local governments, for which tourism is one of the most important economic sectors, and by extensive security measures protecting the tourist infrastructure. Some African and Asian countries (those neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria in West Africa, Afghanistan in Central Asia, Pakistan and in South-East Asia) were assessed as being particularly high-risk countries. But the tourist infrastructure in EU Member States and the Russian Federation was also an attractive target for terrorist cells/radicalized individuals, as the jihadist propaganda attributed significantly higher credit to attacks in the West and in Russia (especially in the context of Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict) than to attacks in other countries. On the basis of an analysis of jihadist leaders’ calls to attacks, places with higher concentration of people (mass cultural or sporting events, transport hubs, tourist monuments, religious ceremonies, sacred buildings, etc.) were assessed as the most vulnerable targets.


3. Cooperation with state bodies and notification duty

In 2019, the SIS continued to cooperate intensively with other Slovak state bodies, primarily focusing on state security. The SIS had active external cooperation mainly with 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 state administration bodies, as well as other state bureaus and institutions. In the framework of interdepartmental cooperation, the SIS actively participated in several national expert groups set up to deal with counter-terrorism, illegal migration, extremism, organized crime or nuclear safety tasks.

The service intensively cooperated with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization, the National Security Authority and the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic, addressing cybersecurity as a priority with them. The cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic continued with a view to attaining the required degree of physical security and security of the ministry’s individual buildings. The main subject of cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic was accessing the information and data required for the fulfilment of the service’s statutory tasks, as well as monitoring individuals and things. In the evaluated period, the SIS continued to cooperate with other state bodies of the Slovak Republic, too, including with the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, with which it was addressing support for information and communication technologies operated by the service.

During the period under review, the service also dealt with tasks arising from national strategic documents, including the 2015-2019 Counter-Extremism Strategy. As part of the work of the Committee for the prevention and elimination of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, the SIS was actively involved in the process of creating a new strategy for 2020-2023.

Regarding counterterrorism, the SIS helped prepare the Report on the fulfillment of tasks resulting from the National action plan for combating terrorism 2015-2018. The new action plan 2019-2022, approved by the Government Resolution No. 546/2019 of 6 November 2019, was prepared by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, with the service also contributing to the preparation.

In the framework of the activities of the Permanent interdepartmental "Threats" working group, the service participated in the regular updating of the material Determining threat by nuclear installations and to nuclear installations and nuclear materials in the framework of project threat to the state 2019 sponsored by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic.

In the context of accessing the existing data of other state administration bodies, a situation when the service was unable to use a significant part of information and data it was legally entitled to request under a public statute, due to the information providers’ technical incompetence or unreasonable concerns about providing this information/data continued in the period under review. The situation has a negative impact on the service’s effective information capabilities in respect of its statutory recipients.


Intelligence production for statutory recipients

As of 31 December 2019, the SIS had elaborated 237 intelligence products for statutory recipients covering the Strategic Focus areas, out of which 129 (54%) were related to security, 54 (23%), to economy, and 54 (23%), to foreign-policy issues.

In total, the SIS sent to recipients 308 reports in the area of security, 101 in the area of economy, and 277 in the area of foreign policy.

A statistical overview of the intelligence production is given in the following tables and chart.

Tables and chart: Summary of intelligence production from January 1 to December 31, 2019

4. Cooperation with intelligence services from other countries

In 2019, the SIS continued to cooperate with partner intelligence services and multilateral groups, following up on the trend from previous years. The SIS actively developed the existing international bilateral cooperation with partner intelligence services at the operational and analytical levels.

The SIS currently maintains bilateral cooperation with 108 partner intelligence services from around the world.

Partners from NATO and EU countries continue to be the key services of international bilateral cooperation. Recently, the volume of cooperation has increased and the search for common standpoints between the Visegrad Four services and other services from Central European countries has also intensified. In line with the Strategic Focus, the cooperation with Balkan services traditionally has a high priority.

There was basal information exchange on topics of mutual interest with intelligence services of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus and other post-Soviet countries.


Thematically, the cooperation centered on the protection of security, political and economic interests of the Slovak Republic and relating monitoring of developments in high-risk and conflict regions.

An important pillar of the SIS's international bilateral cooperation is mutual exchange of analytical information and outputs on all key topics. In addition, there was international bilateral cooperation on several operational areas, joint exercises, projects and special operations.

During the period under review, multilateral cooperation was focused mainly on the SIS’ presidency of the NATO Civilian Intelligence Committee (CIC), which the service held in 2019 for the first time ever. The CIC brings together more than 40 NATO civilian intelligence services and serves as an advisory body to the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on intelligence matters.

Throughout the year, as a civilian intelligence service from one member country, the SIS not only managed and gave substance to the CIC’s work, but it also acted on behalf of the committee, defending its interests.

In multilateral groups, the cooperation continued in accordance with planned activities and the Strategic Focus (i.e. regular HoS meetings, working groups, workshops, etc.). The topics included counterterrorism, extremism, proliferation of dual-use items, trafficking of military products, illegal migration, organized crime and activities of foreign intelligence services. The cooperation was also aimed at monitoring the developments in high-risk and conflict regions, and the service also actively participated in the multilateral working group of EU, Swiss and Norwegian intelligence services in combating terrorism, both in terms of expert exchange of analytical assessments and representation in a Netherlands-based joint operational platform, in which the service shared intelligence on potential terrorist threats in the EU.

5. Situation, principal activities and oversight of the Slovak Information Service

5.1 Personnel

Main indicators

As of December 31, 2019, the service’s staffing levels were at 82.92% of the planned level, a slight increase from 2018 (82.21% of the planned level as of December 31, 2018).

The makeup of the personnel according to the type of civil service with the majority of officers (92.39%) in permanent civil service — which is to ensure personnel stability of the service — has long been fundamentally unchanged. A small number of officers (0.43%), particularly the qualified professionals needed for civil-service tasks, are in temporary civil service. The remaining officers (7.18%) are in preparatory civil service before joining permanent civil service.

More than two-thirds of officers (70.17%) have a university degree and less than a third have full secondary education (29.83%). The majority are middle-aged officers — 26.75% are between 31 and 40, and 48.46% are between 41 and 50. Officers aged between 21 and 30 make up the smallest group (8.21%). The rest is officers aged over 50 (16.58%). 58.89% of the personnel is male and 41.11%, is female.

Chart: Personnel makeup according to the type of civil service, education, age and gender





Officers’ training consisted of two basic types of training during the evaluated period. One was internal intelligence training, which officers are obliged to complete within two years of employment; another was other educational activities arising from the service’s needs and special regulations.

In 2019, several hundreds of candidates applied for a job with the service. After evaluating their professional orientation, declared abilities and skills, 47% of the total number of the applicants got a job interview, of which number 37% succeeded in getting the job.

5.2 Spending and material and technical provisioning


The Act No. 370/2018 Coll. on the 2019 Budget sanctioned an expenditure limit of €54,853,914 (€4,000,000 of this sum for capital expenditures) and a binding income indicator of €130,000 in support of the service’s work in 2019.

The Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic implemented 9 budgetary measures, adjusting the service’s 2019 expenditure limit in the course of 2019.

Table: Binding indicators for the service’s 2019 budget chapter


Material and technical provisioning

Capital expenses were used particularly to modernize the information-communication system and the telecommunications equipment, purchase the crypto equipment, upgrade the intelligence and monitoring equipment needed for special intelligence tasks, restore partially the used technical equipment the service administers, and restore and replenish the physically and morally outdated fleet and service tools necessary for the effective performance of tasks arising from the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 46/1993 Coll. on the Slovak Information Service. When it comes to investment construction, funds were spent on the project documentation for the reconstruction of service facilities and construction work in these facilities to save energy and ensure sustainable development, economy and efficiency of the facilities and improve officers’ working conditions.

Operating expenses were used mostly for intelligence activities, compulsory and contractual payments, and necessary repairs, maintenance and partial replacement of morally and technically outdated technical equipment/service facilities. The other expenses were used strictly to maintain the service’s day-to-day work and to eliminate emergencies and operational failures in the SIS facilities.

The SIS is a partner of the "National cybersecurity incident management system in the public administration" project realized under the Operational Programme Integrated Infrastructure. The main goal and benefit of the project is the construction of a new CSIRT-SIS unit and creation of specialized workplaces to deal comprehensively with cyber protection, security and incident management in line with the legally defined competencies and legal obligations of the CSIRTs. The project activities are currently in the implementation stage; the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Of the total authorized project expenditures, the service drew a non-refundable contribution of €11,584,380.34 for technical and material provision for the project in 2019.

In 2019, the budget was used in accordance with the principles of economic and effective spending of public funds.

5.3 Intelligence-technical means (ITM) and privacy of telecommunication

Legal framework for the use of ITM

The Slovak Information Service is authorized to use intelligence-technical means when carrying out duties according to Section 10(1)(b) of the Slovak Information Service Act No. 46/1993 Coll. and Section 2(2) of the Act No. 166/2003 Coll. on Protection of privacy against the illicit use of intelligence-technical means. It is possible to use ITM to infringe on the privacy of individuals without their consent only under the conditions stipulated by the law.

This measure requires a prior written judicial approval. ITM can only be used for the time necessary, not longer than six months. The period begins on the day the judge has given his/her approval. If necessary, several types of ITM can be used at the same time or sequentially, but each type can only be used within the limits expressly stated in the judge’s approval. If an ITM is to be used at places inaccessible to the public, the judge will specify whether the approval also applies to entering those places.


ITM use in 2019

In 2019, the Slovak Information Service submitted 322 requests for ITM use, 5 of which were rejected by the court. By the reporting date, 195 of 317 consents for ITM use had been evaluated in respect of reaching their statutory goal and purpose. The statutory goal and purpose had been achieved in all 195 cases of ITM use evaluated. The remaining 122 placements could not be evaluated by the reporting date, as these were either live or waiting to be evaluated within the 30-day period after the withdrawal of the ITM.

Comparing the number of ITM placements by the Slovak Information Service and the number of granted judicial approvals issued by the competent court in 2019, it was determined from the statistics provided by the Bratislava Regional Court that the number of submitted applications was the same as the number of granted judicial approvals for ITM use.

In 2019, each ITM placement had the judge’s prior approval and none was illegal.

Table: Detailed statement on the use of ITM in 2019 (as of January 13, 2020):


* Each request for ITM use, including the request to prolong ITM use, is separately recorded.
** Unlike the Police Force, the Slovak Information Service has no authorization to use ITM without the judge’s prior written approval.

ITM use at the Slovak Information Service is fully compliant with the provisions of the Slovak Information Service Act No. 43/1993 Coll. and the Act No. 166/2003 Coll. on the Protection of privacy against illicit use of intelligence-technical means. The technical solutions used and strict organizational and control measures guarantee that the legality of ITM use is respected and no interference in the service’s surveillance and data storage/archiving system is possible.

5.4 Legislation and inspection


The SIS cooperated with ministries, other central bodies of the State Administration and other government bodies in the area of legislation.

In 2019, the SIS reviewed 63 documents sent for interdepartmental scrutiny, raising comments on five. The service’s goal was to turn the proposer’s attention to the problems arising from real-life application and create a legal basis to carry out its statutory duties in a proper and effective way. During the interdepartmental debate, substantial comments leading to an appellation procedure were raised. Some comments presented by the service were incorporated into the materials.


In 2019, the SIS reviewed various legislative documents for an interdepartmental debate, e.g.:

- Draft law on guaranteed electronic invoicing and change and amendment of some other laws,

- Draft law amending the Act No. 319/2002 Coll. on the Defense of the Slovak Republic as amended,

- National action plan to combat terrorism 2019-2022,

- Draft law on construction and change and amendment of some other laws, and

- Draft law on data and change and amendment of the Act No. 305/2013 Coll. on e-Government and change and amendment of some other laws.


In 2019, two inspections in the area of administrative security were carried out, focusing on requisites of the classified documents file registry, making records in it, its closure, making records in the collection file, and its closure.

Regarding physical security and security of buildings, there was one inspection of the security documentation for physical security and buildings security of protected spaces classified as Confidential and Restricted. An inspection is currently being carried out at the service’s premises not designated for handling classified information, along with another internal inspection of the security documentation for physical security and buildings security of protected spaces classified as Confidential and Restricted.

Unscheduled inspections

One inspection from 2018 focused on the handing over of classified documents, registry records, administrative and registry aids, and internal regulations during an organizational change was completed in 2019.

In 2019, there was an audit of the completeness of classified documents and administrative aids during an organizational change.

In 2019, the following internal inspections took place:

- 15 scheduled internal inspections, with 57 checks of officers for alcohol use (involving 1,475 separate breath tests) carried out in one such inspection,

- 12 unscheduled internal inspections, with 1 still unfinished at the time of writing this report, and

- 6 on-the-spot financial inspections carried out under the Act No. 357/2015 Coll. on financial control and internal audit and amendment of some other laws, as amended.

Non-compliance was found during the alcohol use checks, as 1 officer and 1 civilian employee tested positive for alcohol.

The further internal inspections did not reveal any breaches of public statutes or internal regulations and they were terminated with a record on the outcome of the internal inspection. The on-the-spot financial inspections did not reveal any deficiencies and they were terminated with a report on the outcome of the on-the-spot financial inspection.


The service issued 40 expert opinions on the planning permit process. In the period under review, no decision was issued to remove an item from use or cease operation.

In 2019, the Internal Audit Division of the Slovak Information Service carried out five scheduled internal audits.

Internal audits were aimed at verifying and evaluating:

- System and situation of the stock reserves,

- Compliance with the rules relating to inventory taking,

- Structure and functionality of databases in the service’s IT system,

- Purpose and use of the project documentation elaborated by external companies, and

- Verifiability and accuracy of financial operations, focusing on special funds.

Internal audits did not reveal any shortcomings and all internal audits in 2019 were terminated with an internal audit report, or a partial internal audit report. During the audits, one recommendation to improve the work of stock clerks was issued.

The audit group moved in 2019 to amend the internal legislation on specific responsibility in the SIS.

Expert state supervision

Regarding the expert state supervision: In 2019, inspectors and the health officer launched 36 scheduled supervisions and 1 unscheduled supervision, while 1 supervision was still carried on from 2018. Of this number:

- 10 supervisions on the occupational safety and health were launched by the occupational safety inspector,

- 9 supervisions on the safety of technical equipment were launched by the technical inspector,

- 9 scheduled health state supervisions and 1 unscheduled health state supervision were launched by the health officer, and

- The fire inspector started 8 fire inspections and continued 1 inspection from 2018.

The unscheduled health state supervision will continue into 2020.

One measure was imposed after the planned technical supervision. All the other findings were brought into compliance with the public statutes and the SIS’ internal regulations by the end of inspections.

One fire inspection was terminated with a statement on two deficiencies found.

6. Report on the Activity of the National Security and Analytical Center

In 2019, the National Security and Analytical Center (NBAC) continued to carry out the roles of a national fusion center in processing and evaluating information on security threats, focusing primarily on the collection and evaluation of information on terrorism and other serious security incidents and security threats to the Slovak Republic and its citizens in accordance with the NBAC Statute and the Strategy of Combating Hybrid Threats.


In the period under review, the center’s attention was on current security issues, especially terrorist and extremist threats hybrid threats, threats to Slovak citizens and embassies abroad, threats to important elements of critical infrastructure, illegal migration and potential arrival of high-risk individuals in Slovakia. Its analytical activities involved the continuous comprehensive assessment of the security situation in the Slovak Republic, the neighboring countries and the EU countries in the context of topicality of the current threat level in the Slovak Republic. In coordination with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the center was also concerned with the selected issues of international and European security and security policies, as well as the evolving security situation in crisis regions, with the possible impact on Slovakia.

To identify potential security incidents in a timely manner, the center paid increased attention to the security situation in the Slovak Republic before and during the Slovak presidential election, the election to the European Parliament, the world ice hockey championship, the Globsec security conference, and during the allied military equipment transports — part of the Saber Guardian 19 international military exercise. The center was more vigilant in the context of the Slovak chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the escalation of the situation in the Strait of Hormuz, before and during Turkey's military operations in northern Syria, during Jewish celebrations, and during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Its representatives also participated in the meetings of the inter-ministerial Expert group on coordinating information exchange and analysis and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the Standing inter-ministerial working group on identifying threats from nuclear installations and to nuclear installations and materials in the framework of project threat to the state, and the on-site evaluation visit of the Council of Europe's MONEYVAL expert committee to Bratislava in the framework of the fifth round of assessing the Slovak measures for combating money laundering, financing terrorism and financing WMD proliferation.

On the basis of media information on the series of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Sri Lanka in April 2019, the NBAC began to monitor the security situation in Sri Lanka and other holiday destinations visited by Slovaks, gathering relevant information. Following up on the task set to the NBAC and the MFEA SR by the meeting of the Security Council of the Slovak Republic, the center processed and delivered two intelligence products to the statutory recipients on the basis of an analysis of information from open sources, the state bodies represented on the NBAC, and the negotiations with representatives of the partner centers abroad.

In addition to these intelligence products, the center distributed further six and two comprehensive analytical reports to external recipients in the Slovak Republic and members of an informal association of counter-terrorism centers and counter-terrorism coordinators of Europe, North America, Japan and Australia (Cooperation on Terror Threat Analysis – CTTA Madrid Group), respectively.


In the course of 2019, the center was active in security prevention, participating mainly in the security screening of third-country nationals applying for visas and the individuals inviting them. During the period under review, 3,683 persons were screened via the center by authorities.

Besides the increased monitoring, security and preventive activities were also carried out with the NBAC’s assistance in the framework of the Slovak OSCE chairmanship and the preparations for it, namely through the security screening of journalists who applied for accreditation for the SK OSCE events as well as employees of contractors that supplied goods, work and services for the said events. The most important was the OSCE Ministerial Council, which took place in Bratislava from December 2 to December 6, 2019. In the context of this event, authorities represented on the NBAC carried out 919 screenings of applicants for accreditation between October 30 and December 6, 2019, with 67 applicants also screened by foreign intelligence services through the Slovak Information Service in the framework of international intelligence cooperation. Fifteen individuals were denied accreditation due to potential security risks. In addition to the OSCE Ministerial Council, the NBAC participated in the security screening of mass-media representatives in four other top-level events held in the framework of the Slovak OSCE chairmanship (International Conference on Anti-Semitism, International Conference on Cyber Security, Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers of OSCE Member States, and International Conference on Security Sector Governance and Reform), during which 121 applicants were screened. In total, 1,040 security checks were carried out in connection with the Slovak OSCE chairmanship 2019.


The NBAC continued to develop international partnerships in 2019. In the context of bilateral cooperation, it received delegations from three foreign partner centers and established cooperation with a counter-terrorism analysis center from the region of North Africa. In the framework of multilateral cooperation on the platform of the CTTA Madrid Group, the center participated in one expert meeting and two plenary meetings of heads of counterterrorism centers. The fact that international cooperation had intensified was reflected in a higher amount of shared information and analytical materials.

Regarding hybrid threats, the center established cooperation with the academic community and the NGO sector in collaboration with SITCEN SR. In this framework, they participated actively with Globsec and public-administration bodies in a hybrid-threat simulation organized by the University of Žilina at the end of the year.

As to vocational training, some NBAC staff participated in conferences organized primarily by the Police Academy and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. To deepen the cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, three presentations on NBAC activities were made for the ministry’s employees as part of their training before a mission abroad. The NBAC also participated in SIS officers’ internal training.

In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Special oversight committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for oversight of the Slovak Information Service’s activities held a meeting at the NBAC on March 27, 2019, during which the committee members were familiarized with the center’s operation and activities.

To make the work in processing shared information more effective, the center continued to take steps to secure the NBAC‘s new information system. The trend of more and more documents being elaborated by the participating authorities in the NBAC information system (reports/signals relating to security incidents and events within the center’s remit) continued in the period under review. In 2019, there was a slight decrease in the number of documents (reports) processed in the NBAC’s information system, which was caused by the stricter criteria for informative value of these documents and their further analytical utilization at the center.

7. Conclusion

In 2019, the Slovak Information Service continued to carry out the tasks of collecting and evaluating information for its statutory recipients within its domain and powers set forth in the Act No. 46/1993 Coll.