Czech intelligence agency: Russian, Chinese spies pose imminent threat to national interests

Russian and Chinese espionage posed an imminent threat to the Czech Republic’s security and other vital interests last year, the Czech domestic intelligence agency Security Intelligence Service (BIS) said in its 2019nian annual report published on November 10.

The report said Russian and Chinese intelligence services played an important role in promoting their interests abroad. “The key difference is that Russia seeks to destabilize and dismantle its adversaries, while China seeks to create a Chinese-centric global community in which all states recognize the legitimacy of Chinese interests,” the BIS said.

The BIS noted that in 2019, all Russian intelligence services are operating in the Czech Republic. Russian spies with diplomatic cover are focused on promoting Russian interests and the Kremlin’s views, as well as boosting Russia’s reputation in the Czech Republic. Chinese spies, the service continued, operate under the guise of diplomats, journalists or scientists, and “take advantage of the Czech Republic’s open environment for Chinese investment” to achieve their goals. They target the scientific and technological sector, the military, security, infrastructure, health care, the economy and environmental protection, among other areas, in an effort to shape a positive perception of China.

The BIS added that foreign spies attacked Czech networks, targeting the Czech Foreign Ministry, overseas embassies and the facilities of the Czech antivirus software company Avast, and that Chinese and Russian intelligence units were behind the operations. Phishing and spear-attacking emails are the most common tactics used by BIS, the report said.