Pro-communist supporters hold flags and a portrait of Vladimir Lenin as they protest against the government in central Prague, Czech, in this file photo. (MichalI Cizek/AFP/Getty Images) The Czech intelligence service (BIS) in its annual report for 2018 published on Nov. 26, warned against threats from Chinese and Russian intelligence trying to weaken Czech institutions, and influence politicians to act in the interests of these foreign powers.
Operations of both intelligence services focus on infiltrating areas of politics, diplomacy, espionage, economy, and information in the Czech Republic . The methods used by China and Russia differ due to geographical and historical factors. Russian Infiltration
Russia uses unconventional (so-called hybrid) intelligence operations against those who it considers its enemies, which presents a much bigger threat to Czechia than typical intelligence operations, says the report.
Hybrid warfare is a broad term used to describe military strategies employing a combination of activities—like cyberwarfare, disinformation, economic manipulation, diplomatic pressure, use of proxies and insurgencies. It may also involve military actions, according to The Conversation .
“The key Russian goal is to manipulate decision-making processes and individuals responsible for making decisions to induce a counter-party to self-weaken,” says the report.
According to the report, the Russian intelligence agency The Federal Security Service ( FSB ) secretly built an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in the Czech Republic that could be used for FSB operations. This network, however, had been disabled by the Czech intelligence and police forces.
In 2018 a number of email accounts of members of the Czech Army had been compromised due to a cyber-attack. As a result, the attackers obtained access to personally sensitive information about Czech Army members. The BIS stated in the report that the Russian cyberespionage group APT28/Sofacy most likely launched the attack.
A target group for Russian intelligence infiltration is pro-Russian activists. They represent a wide array of political views from left to right and belong to various parties or organizations. While many of them act out of their ideological motives, some are knowingly involved in spreading “various conspiracy theories and pro-Russian propaganda” via different channels, says the report. Cyber espionage (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times) Chinese Infiltration
In terms of complexity, Chinese intelligence activities in Czechia are comparable to those of Russia, says the report.
However due to lacking a history of military presence in Europe and it’s distant geographical location, China’s intel activities in Czechia focus on “finding and contacting potential collaborators and agents among Czech citizens,” evaluates the 2018 Annual Report of the Security Service .
All top Chinese intelligence agencies operated in the territory of the Czech Republic, including military intelligence, Chinese communist party department of foreign affairs, ministries of state security and public safety, and career diplomats. They all influence Czech academia, security forces, and administration to advocate and force Chinese interests.
One of the methods the Chinese intelligence uses is inviting Czech citizens employed in these fields for training, seminars, and tours, usually to third countries to disguise the real purpose of these invitations. All travel expenses of […]