New Scandal Involving Croatian Security Intelligence Agency

Total Croatia News

Unhappy times at the Croatian Intelligence Agency.

Another day, another scandal in the Croatian intelligence community. Jutarnji List has published an article about the results of an intelligence analysis about the disclosure of the identity of Security Intelligence Agency (SOA) agents to managers of foreign companies, as well as about the leak of information vital to national security. The breach of security allegedly happened during the process of acquiring systems to monitor modern electronic communication through WhatsApp, Viber and Skype applications, reports Jutarnji List on February 9, 2016.

The intelligence analysis was made on the basis of e-mail correspondence of Italian company Hacking Team, which was published by WikiLeaks on 8 June. Customers of Hacking Team, a company based in Milan, are various intelligence services. The company tried to sell spyware and spying equipment to SOA through Croatian company Alfatec Group, which sells products and services in the field of information security and communications.

Chief negotiators for the purchase of software for Croatia were SOA employees who in 2013 and 2014 went to several presentations of software abroad and went to meetings at the company headquarters in Milan. The published correspondence shows not only the current and planned operational and technological capabilities of the Croatian intelligence community, but also includes names of seven SOA agents, which is a highly-classified information. In addition, the correspondence contains data on the movement of SOA director Dragan Lozančić, his meetings, and the way the Croatian intelligence system works.

Alfatec Group employee who was responsible to communicate with Hacking Team is Igor Stjepanović. The analysis shows that Stjepanović was a person who in several emails revealed identity of seven SOA employees. In addition, identity of four employees of the Interior Ministry has been revealed. Also, in an email dated 6 March 2014 Stjepanović asks a representative of the Italian company to photograph SOA representatives at a meeting to see who was there, but the Italian company employee refused to do so.

In early 2014, Stjepanović informed the Italian company that he was at a meeting at the Interior Ministry and that there was a problem with a lack of money in the state budget, and that there might not be enough money to buy the software. According to available information, the price of a single software application is around one million euros, with the annual cost of maintenance of about 250,000 euros.

After WikiLeaks published the emails, all communication was stopped and the software was never purchased. Jutarnji List’s sources claim that SOA director Dragan Lozančić had to open a detailed investigation about all contacts between his employees and the representatives of the Italian company, but also about their cooperation with Alfatec Group. In addition, an investigation should have been launched by the Office of the National Security Council as well, since the published documents clearly show that an employee of a Croatian company was releasing sensitive information about Croatian security and intelligence community.

SOA Director Dragan Lozančić and Ivica Panenić, Head of the Office of the National Security Council, were dismissed few days ago by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović for reasons which have not been publicly explained, but are rumoured to be connected with certain other issues. However, the dismissals will not come into force until they are confirmed by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković, who has announced that he would make a decision this week.


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