Chief of spy service BIS rejects President Zeman’s criticisms

Michal Koudelka, head of the national counterintelligence service BIS, has rejected an assertion by President Miloš Zeman that the organisation has failed to catch any spies or present hard evidence of Russian and Chinese operations here.

BIS its annual report issued on Monday that spies from those countries are increasingly active in the Czech Republic, working under diplomatic cover, and engaged in spreading disinformation and economic espionage.

The Czech president said BIS presented no proof of this and furthermore had failed to uncover any Islamic terrorists on Czech territory although the police’s national organised crime unit and others had asserted their existence.

Koudelka said in a published statement on Friday that Zeman’s comments were “unfortunate”. The BIS has had a successful year, and, among other things, helped expose and dismantle a Russian intelligence service operating here.

The country’s interior minister, Jan Hamáček, has also rejected the president’s characterisation, heaping praise on the BIS.