Tuesday, May 1, 2012


OSINT News believes the fast-paced political happenings  occurring in Bulgaria parallel the pressures on her to navigate through a post-Communistic landscape. She must reform her government, its spy services, and international identity in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. Simultaneously, NATO and the EU yearn to absorb Bulgaria into their respective organizations as well. This brings up many questions. How involved is the CIA and the American Intelligence Community (IC) in reshaping Bulgarian affairs? How involved is the American IC in penetrating Russia's intelligence services via Bulgarian assets? What will be Bulgaria’s foreign policy and diplomacy towards the U.S. and Europe? How intertwined is Bulgaria’s intelligence service with that of the Soviet’s?

Bulgaria's ex intelligence chief Gen. Kircho Kirov has been fired by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Kirov was dismissed as head of the National Intelligence Service, then appointed as an adviser to the Prime Minister. Kirov had been the head of the Bulgarian intelligence for the past 9 years and was dismissed in January 2012 along with his deputy Gen. Angelov.
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At that time, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov explained that Gen. Kircho Kirov, the outgoing head of the Bulgarian intelligence, would not be appointed as an ambassador because of his record of collaboration with the former State Security, the secret service of the Bulgarian communist regime (DS), but that he would be offered an adviser post at PM's office.

Now, Kirov's adviser position dismissal by Borisov was executed without any reason given; however, unconfirmed reports support the contention that Kirov's firing was the result of violations during his work as chief of Bulgaria's National Intelligence Service.

According to opposition whistle blower MP Yane Yanev, Kirov is said to have uncovered serious violations by ex President Georgi Parvanov and ex Vice President Angel Marinov that connect them to a corruption ring for the granting of Bulgarian citizenship. And, lots of money was involved. Bulgaria's Prosecutor's Office is standing by. 

In the meantime, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov confirmed that Gen. Kirov will not be appointed Ambassador,   dismissng such an appointment from happening to a former head of the communist-era State Security (DS). Kirov said in an interview for the newspaper Presa Daily that "I thank him for his remarks, which were at times critical. I could not comment on the situation which arose after the Prime Minister shared his views about my future. It will be a decision of Prime Minister Borisov and Minister Mladenov. I interpret his reaction in broader terms."

Interestingly, IS chief Gen. Kircho Kirov received a negative mention in a Wikileaks cable dated January 25, 2007 sent by U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle, which was published in Bulgaria October 26th. It is reported that Borisov, indeed,  desired to make Kirov an Ambassador. What was his motivations for wanting to do so? After all, Borisov vowed to remove all Ambassadors with DS records. Could it be that Kirov knows intelligence that could harm Borisov's reputation?

According to foreign newspaper reports that OSINT News obtained, the new GERB government in Bulgaria is coming down hard on the former DS. A new nomination package for new Ambassadors will be approved after President-Elect Rosen Plevneliev assumes office. Plevneliev won the end-of-October presidential elections on the ticket of GERB, and vowed to sign the recall papers of the diplomats with proven ties to DS on his first day in office. According to one
Bulgarian newspaper, the GERB Cabinet will have to appoint over 50 new Ambassadors to replace the ones recalled over their ties to DS and those whose terms in office expire.

OSINT News is pleased with the results and welcomes the DS members receiving their "burn notices" (CIA term). The DS accumulated secret files that have caused the new, democratic Bulgaria, much controversy. This new regime, which swept in after the communist regime collapsed, charge the former DS and communist elite of stealing all DS files that could become harmful to its members and supporters, including the older members who are currently working diplomatic posts around the world. OSINT News wonders how many of the "DS-friendly" could be working assets for the Russian intelligence services?

A decade ago, former Interior Minister Gen. Atanas Semerdzhiev was arrested and convicted of razing 144,235 DS files from the Durzhavna Sigurnost archives. OSINT News supports the new, democratic Bulgarian regime in its efforts to "burn" all former DS agents and to expel them from its diplomatic corp...and that's just for starters.
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Ruthless, indeed, they were. We offer a fine resource about how they operated. The Bulgarian umbrella is the name of an umbrella with a hidden pneumatic mechanism which shot out a small poisonous pellet containing ricin. The Bulgarian Umbrella has a hollow stalk which the pellet neatly fits into.
Such an umbrella was allegedly used in the assassination of the Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov on September 7, 1978 (the birthday of the Bulgarian State Council Chairman 
Todor Zhivkov who had often been the target of Georgi Markov's criticism). Markov's murder occurred on the Waterloo Bridge in London (Markov died four days later). The 
murder weapon was also used in the failed assassination attempt against the Bulgarian dissident journalist Vladimir Kostov the same year in the Paris Metro. The poison used in both cases was ricin and the murders were undoubtedly carried out by the Bulgarian Secret Service (DS) during the Cold War years, with the assistance of the KGB. These two murders inspired the 1980 French film Le Coup du parapluie (The Umbrella Coup)

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). A portion (10%) of this site's ad revenues is donated to the AFIO. The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. We're always looking for different perspectives regarding the Intelligence Community- got a thought, article or comment you'd like to submit? Contact us on the Secure Contact Form

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