News

01

Bratislava 15 September 2021

Pope’s acknowledgment to the Slovak Information Service

The Holy Father personally expressed his acknowledgement to Director General Michal Aláč for the professional work of SIS officers during his visit to Slovakia.

Monitoring the situation, analyzing potential risks, taking security measures and co-operating with other Slovak security organizations in ensuring the maximum security for the Holy Father and the public at meetings — those were the Service’s priorities in the past weeks.

Now, it is possible to say that the security organizations’ professionalism and co-operation have contributed greatly to the Holy Father’s safety during his visit.

Director General Michal Aláč thanks the SIS officers and also appreciates the co-operation of members of other security organizations, who have been fully engaged in work in the past few days (and for several weeks before the visit), participating in both the preparations and the course of all public and non-public events.

02

Bratislava, 14 May 2021

Prime Minister Eduard Heger visits the SIS and NBAC headquarters

Late in the week, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger paid a visit to the National Security Analytical Center and met with the SIS Director General Michal Aláč.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger visited the National Security Analytical Center (NBAC) to negotiate with Minister of Interior Roman Mikulec, SIS Director General Michal Aláč and other SIS leading representatives and NBAC officials about cooperation and coordination in sharing analyses and information from individual departments and evaluating the individual indicators of hybrid threat. The negotiations between Prime Minister Heger and SIS Director General Aláč continued at the SIS headquarters the next day. They discussed the current security situation in Slovakia, the vision of the new SIS Director General and their mutual cooperation.

02

 

Bratislava, 06 May 2021

Michal Aláč is appointed new Director General of the Slovak Information Service

On May 6, 2021, President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová appointed JUDr. Michal Aláč PhD. Director General of the Slovak Information Service on the proposal of the Cabinet.

New director general’s concern is to lead the service as a modern intelligence agency responding effectively to all threats to the interests of the Slovak Republic.

“It is my goal to manage the service so that it is viewed as a politically independent and professional intelligence agency in every its aspect in advancing the strategic interests of the Slovak Republic,” stressed the new director general.

His priority is that the Slovak Information Service continues to be a respected institution at home and abroad, and is viewed as a dependable and co-operating partner with foreign intelligence services, one that accepts and shares relevant information.

The key roles of an intelligence service include protection of interests of the Slovak Republic and its citizens, combatting extremism and terrorism and all forms of organized crime. Moreover, an intelligence service has to pay greater attention to online threats and cybersecurity in the era of increased disinformation activities.

“The Slovak Information Service is where competent and intelligent people work. My interest is to create suitable conditions for the service to be a stable employer for officers and an attractive place for candidates,” he added.

Another task is to improve the service’s credibility in the eyes of the public and continue to communicate more openly with members of the public so that information not legally protected is appropriately shared with them.

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(source of photo: TASR)

 

Bratislava, 16 April 2020

Vladimír Pčolinský Appointed the New Director General of the Slovak Information Service

On April 15, 2020, the President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, appointed Ing. Vladimír Pčolinský, PhD. as Director General of the Slovak Information Service on a proposal of the Slovak government.

According to the new head of the SIS, the current priority for the intelligence service will be preventing the COVID-19 pandemic, a health and economic crisis, from turning into a security crisis. Thus, the SIS will be vigilant when it comes to disinformation campaigns. It shall protect our health care infrastructure from cyber-attacks and share all forms of aid and relevant information with our EU and NATO allies.

The new SIS director believes that other important tasks include exposing high-level corruption, countering extremism and all forms of organized crime.

Thorough execution of personnel and facility security clearances and security clearances of persons within the judiciary are equally important.

The new director of the SIS will do everything in his power so that the Slovak Information Service would help enforce strategic interests of the Slovak Republic and remain a respected and useful member of the Euro-Atlantic community.

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(source of photo: TASR)

 

Bratislava, 6 August 2014

SIS warns Slovak citizens to avoid travelling to certain regions

With regard to unstable and changing security situation in some regions and the security incidents of the Slovak citizens in recent past, the Slovak Information Service has decided to warn Slovak citizens travelling to certain troubled regions of increased security risks.

SIS warns Slovak citizens against so-called adrenalin or adventure tourism in areas of crises in which an ongoing military conflicts and tensions are taking place, as such tourism might pose a threat to citizens’ lives and health.

If, due to any reasons, travelling cannot be cancelled or postponed and Slovak citizens find themselves in need, SIS recommends contacting relevant Slovak embassies; if necessary, embassies of other EU member states can be contacted as well.

Due to unstable security situation in the given regions, we recommend citizens of the Slovak Republic to reconsider travelling to the following regions; if travelling is necessary, citizens should avoid any security threats.

Afghanistan:

The situation in Afghanistan has been worsened for a longer period of time. Tourists are not recommended to visit the country due to high possibility of terrorist attacks. Not only security forces, but also civilians, tourists and foreigners could become targets of such attacks.

The general public is equipped with a high number of weapons; visitors could thus involuntarily find themselves caught in the crossfire or in the middle of fights between various feuding parties. Militants often choose hotels, embassies, government buildings, NATO bases and international humanitarian organisations facilities as their targets. For foreign tourists, abductions carried out by militants all around Afghanistan, including Kabul and surrounding areas pose a significant threat.

Algeria:

Due to ongoing risks of security incidents, including terrorist threats, SIS recommends citizens of the Slovak Republic to be very cautious, reconsider travel routes and abide  by the rules of individual security.

Slovak citizens are not recommended to travel to the country on their own. Despite special attention given by the Algerian security forces, in recent period a number of possible terrorist attacks in suburbs and even in the centre of the capital city of Algeria has increased. Further, false security patrols on roads, especially at dusk, have occurred.

Egypt:

The situation in Egyptian tourist resorts on the Red Sea coast has become stabilised. However, tourists should reconsider taking trips or travelling outside protected resorts.

In connection with the threats aimed at foreigners, the number of possible terrorist attacks targeting Western visitors and possible abductions carried by Egyptian terrorist groups have moderately increased. Overall, security situation in Egypt has worsened in recent months, especially due to an increased number of attacks on the Egyptian security forces and government facilities carried out by the supporters of the former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. At the same time a territory at which the Jihadi terrorist groups operate and a list of possible attack targets have been expanded. Terrorist attacks are likely to take place near government buildings, state administration offices and security forces facilities.

Ethiopia:

Ongoing high risk of terrorist attacks against foreigners, especially by the Somali al-Shabaab, remains. Popular targets of terrorists include public places with a higher number of people, such as hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, public transportation, etc. Areas bordering Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, and regions near Somali borders are risky due to potential abductions.

Iraq:

Security situation in Iraq worsened significantly in 2004. A militant organisation - the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant - is active in almost all Iraqi provinces, especially in the Western and Northern parts of Iraq. SIS recommends citizens of the Slovak Republic to avoid travelling to Iraq at present; if they are already present in the country, they should depart, considering the situation.

Situation in the whole country is dangerous and unpredictable. Travelling around the country might directly threaten lives. Regular bombing and suicidal attacks are on the rise; government buildings, police stations, embassies, public areas, public transportation, religious sites, schools and other facilities have all become potential targets. Foreigners have become popular targets for militant groups. Visitors to Iraq might become abduction targets; such acts are carried out by criminal groups aiming to extort ransom. Many victims do not survive such abductions.

If a Slovak citizen is already present in Iraq and is planning to leave the country, SIS recommends

  • to travel from Baghdad exclusively by plane – not to use roads,
  • to avoid travelling by public transportation in Baghdad and other larger cities unless necessary,
  • to carry alternative and backup means of communication, such as satellite telephone, as local telecommunication and internet networks are unstable and faulty,
  • to use services of officially registered security agencies operating in Iraq when travelling around the country.
Iran:

A long-term risk of possible detentions of foreigners suspicious of breaking Iranian law has existed for some time. For instance, in 2012 Matej Valuch, a Slovak citizen, and in 2013 a group of eight paragliders were detained in Iranian prison. Drawing on the experience, SIS advises tourists to carefully study and get acquainted with all conditions and relevant legal regulations regarding their stay in Iran (available online on the website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs).

Due to security reasons it is not recommended to travel closer than approximately 100 km to Afghan-Iranian borders and around 10 km to Iraqi-Iranian borders.

Israel, the Gaza Strip:

SIS does not recommend Slovak citizens to travel to the Gaza Strip owing to the current security situation; further, providing aid to persons in need in the area is very limited due to the ongoing conflict. Currently, a security tension arising from missile attacks and retaliatory measures of Israeli armed forces within Israeli-Palestinian conflict still remains. With this regard terrorist attacks at public places targeting civilians cannot be ruled out. Abductions are also likely to take place in the Gaza Strip area and along the Egyptian borders. Unjustified stay of Slovak citizens at Israeli-Lebanese and Israeli-Syrian borders is also a security threat.

If you are in Israel during the current security situation,

  • follow recommendations and orders of Israeli security forces,
  • follow current security situation in media and contact the Slovak embassy (or embassy of any other EU member state) if the situation deteriorates,
  • do not travel to areas bordering the Gaza Strip (due to an increasing number of missile attacks on Israel),
  • refrain from travelling to the Eastern part of Jerusalem (owing to common violent clashes),
  • exercise caution when visiting historic sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, especially around the Temple Mount.
Yemen:

As large areas are controlled by the Jihadists having connection to Al-Qaeda, current security situation in Yemen is dangerous.

Diplomatic facilities of U.S.A., European countries and pro-Western Arab states are targeted. Abductions of foreigners (carried out by the Jihadists who are attempting to exchange abductees for money or imprisoned terrorists) are yet another security threat.  There were some cases in past, in which foreigners were not abducted by the Jihadists, but by the members of armed tribes or criminals who subsequently forwarded the captives to the Jihadists linked to al-Qaeda.

Kenya:

Owing to the activities of extremist groups linked to al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to al-Qaeda, a possibility of terrorist attacks prevails in the country. Publically accessible places with higher number of people, such as hotels, bars, shopping centres, beaches, sporting events, etc. are popular with terrorists as such places are perceived to have a minimal level of security protection. Attacks on sea and air traffic have also occurred.

In the Kenya-Somalia border area a high prospect of abductions is present. In large cities, such as the capital Nairobi or Mombasa, armed robberies and abductions are common. In the North and North-East Kenya, open clashes between individual tribes and clans or the Kenyan army and the Islamist guerrillas are quite often.

Libya:

SIS warns Slovak citizens of a significantly worsened security situation in Libya. The situation in the country is currently not transparent and extremely dangerous due to new clashes between the Islamist groups and the authorities. At the same time, SIS does not recommend travelling to any part of this North-African country, including the capital of Tripoli. Libya is on the verge of the civil war. A high probability of terrorist acts focused also on Western targets and tourists exists.

Significantly decreased security rating of Libya is a result of newly-emerged armed clashes between the militias and the authorities, especially in the South-Eastern part of the Libyan capital. The Tripoli international airport is out of operation. Heavy fights over the airport resulted in many casualties. An extensive fire of the oil and gas terminal hit by a missile contributed to the deteriorated situation.

The extremist Islamic groups fighting the current Libyan government are linked to al-Qaeda. These groups are quite active in the Eastern part of the country; moreover, other armed extremist groups also operate in the area. In the South-Western part of the country, military Islamist groups, activities of which take also place in Algeria, are concentrated.

Libyan borders are not controlled by the Libyan forces effectively and are the main area where various terrorist groups are forming.

SIS recommends all Slovak citizens currently present in Libya to leave the country as soon as possible.

Pakistan:

With respect to a significantly worsened security situation in the country and high security risks we do not recommend private trips to Pakistan. Terrorist attacks and violence are on the increase and are not territorially limited.

Attacks on civil targets are currently possible at any place within the country’s borders. Unfortunately, the Slovak Republic has experienced a direct terrorist attack on two mountain climbers in Pakistan. More and more foreigners are becoming targets of such attacks in the country and its cities. Western companies, government buildings, offices, religious facilities are all possible targets.

Abductions are yet another threat to foreigners as a recent Czech case demonstrates. The Czech Republic is intensively trying to rescue two abducted female tourists who, according to information present in media,  are currently in Pakistan.

Syria:

We advise people presently situated in Syria to leave the country. SIS does not recommend Slovak citizens to travel to the country due to the ongoing civil war. Allegedly, a large part of the Syrian territory (areas in the North and East) is controlled by the Islamic State of Syria and Levant.

However, the whole territory presents a risk to tourists owing to the continuing armed conflict between the Jihadi groups and the Syrian army. An increased number of abductions of foreigners by militant groups as a means of reaching their goals is a common feature of the conflict. In 2014, the number of abducted persons working for various international non-governmental and humanitarian organisations or newspapers has increased. Abductions can also take place on border crossings controlled by the opposition.

Ukraine:

The Eastern part of Ukraine is characterised by unstable internal political situation linked with tense, unpredictable and constantly-changing security situation. Armed conflicts and fights between the pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian forces in the East or the South-East of Ukraine, especially in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continue.

The international committee of the Red Cross marked the events in the Eastern part of the country a war. Significant casualties of civilians, abductions and violent occupation of buildings and other very dramatic and dangerous incidents, such as the downing of a civil airplane owned by the Malaysian Airlines on 17 July 2014 in the Donetsk oblast are all the results of the conflict and intensive armed clashes. In Donetsk, an ecologic catastrophe is impending after the explosions and fights damaged electricity supplies to a local chemical plant.

In the context of the aforementioned events, SIS does not recommend travelling to the regions in the East and South of Ukraine. If travelling to Ukraine is necessary, SIS recommends Slovak citizens to stay away from the areas with increased tensions and risks of local armed conflicts; if needed, Slovak citizens can turn to the Slovak Embassy in Ukraine. 

Bratislava, 15 April 2014

The provisions of the Draft Bill on Intelligence Services on monitoring devices enabling information and data encryption are a significantly pared-down version of the Government Regulation 443/2001 Coll.

We must admit the workgroup consisting of the SIS, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence representatives was not in favour of the provisions; yet, the provisions are based solely on the 2001 Government Regulation. As a compromise, the workgroup decided to make the provisions stricter. Regardless the legal regulation in force, the Draft Bill significantly pares down the power of the state to get acquainted with information on devices enabling classified data and information transfer and does not require the producers or importers to provide such devices to state authorities.

From our perspective, SIS does not perceive the omission of the given provisions as problematic; on contrary, public discussion regarding the new Draft Bill is much welcomed.

SIS regards the articles trying to raise fears over possibilities of intercepting online banking, emails or bank accounts presented in mass media absurd.

Bratislava, 15 April 2014

As several questions have been raised concerning security risks relating to activities of pseudoreligious groupings, SIS takes the following stand:

As presented in the online version of the SIS Annual Report SIS has been monitoring the activities of pseudoreligious groupings, destructive sects and religious societies that might pose security risks. SIS uses identical evaluation parameters as the partner intelligence services SIS cooperates closely with on this subject.

This concerns only those groupings that use nonstandard and non-transparent means, often to feather their own nest, negatively interfere with mental and physical health of their followers and exploit their social situation in order to spread own ideologies and gain influence in public and private sectors.

Naturally, SIS cannot present specific cases, intelligence methods and forms SIS uses with this respect as revealing such classified information could result in endangering lives and health of its members and agents and breaking the law and obligations under international cooperation agreements.