Montenegro Secret Service Chief Quits


News
10 Dec 14

Montenegro Secret Service Chief Quits

The National Security Agency, Boro Vucinic, unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday, reportedly as a result of EU and NATO pressure.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

In a brief press statement, the head of Montenegro’s secret service, Boro Vucinic, said he had submitted his resignation after discussion with Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

The formal reasons for his resignation were not disclosed. Media reports in Podgorica suggested that the government was not satisfied with his performance in reforming the agency.

“In the past, I and my associates served the citizens of Montenegro, their safety and national security interests, with full commitment to implementation of reforms in Montenegro on her path to NATO [membership],” Vucinic said in the statement on Tuesday.

Vucinic was a loyal associate of Prime Minister Djukanovic, his “soldier”, as he was often called by various opposition politicians and the media.

He headed the National Security Agency, ANB, from 2012 and was the country’s first Minister of Defence after it regained independence back in 2006.

He was considered close to NATO structures and was one of the staunchest advocates of membership of the Western military alliance.

But analyst Dragisa Janjusevic believes that pressure from the EU and NATO forced Djukanovic to replace Vucinic.

The intelligence service has been sharply criticized by the international community.

“The agency has often been criticized for lack of professionalism, for corrupt officials, even for cooperation with foreign intelligence services,” Janjusevic told BIRN.

In September, the government proposed emergency amendments to the law governing the National Security Agency, to establish a security system to meet NATO standards and improve the way in which the country treats classified information.

In June, NATO decided against offering membership of the military alliance this year, saying it would reconsider Montenegro’s bid in 2015.

NATO officials said Montenegro needed to implement “profound reforms” in the security and intelligence services and secure greater public support as key conditions for membership.

Some analysts said the weakness of the intelligence agency was one of the key reasons for Montenegro not receiving an invitation to join NATO at its summit in Wales in September.

Associated Press news agency reported in July that NATO had postponed a decision to invite Montenegro to join the alliance because of large-scale penetration of Montenegro’s intelligence service by Russia. Djukanovic has dismissed claims that Russian spies have riddled the service.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)