09 Jan 15
Montenegro Plans to Purge Intelligence Agency
Montenegro is to shed all senior intelligence officers who have served in the National Security Agency more than 15 years, to meet the conditions for obtaining an invitation to join NATO.
The Montenegrin parliament is shortly to discuss a government proposal to retire all existing intelligence officers aged 50 and older by March 1.
Under an amendment to the law on the National Security Agency, employees with 30 years of work experience, of which at least 15 have been spent working for the Agency, will be retired “under favourable conditions”.
“The proposal aims to improve the state of human resources in the Agency,” the government said.
The Security Agency has about 400 employees, but the number of those eligible for the early retirement plan has not yet been revealed.
In September, the government launched wide-ranging intelligence reforms in order to meet NATO security standards and improve ways in which the country treats classified information.
Analysts said perceived weaknesses in the intelligence agency were one reason why Montenegro was not asked to join NATO at its summit in Wales in September.
In June, NATO decided against offering membership of the alliance this year, saying it would reconsider Montenegro’s bid in 2015.
NATO officials urged Montenegro to conduct “profound reforms” in the security and intelligence services and secure majority public support for joining NATO.
The Associated Press news agency reported in July last year that NATO had postponed a decision to invite Montenegro to join the alliance because of large-scale Russian penetration of Montenegro’s intelligence service.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has dismissed claims that the service is riddled with Russian spies.
A security analyst and retired general, Blagoje Grahovac, warned that retiring experienced staff of the National Security Agency will not necessarily bring major improvements.
Pressure from NATO had forced Djukanovic’s cabinet to propose the amendment, he claimed.
“Although there are honourable people in the Agency, there are also those who have contaminated Montenegro with organized crime and corruption instead of protecting it,” Grahovac said in December.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)