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27/10/2021 | New book details ¨special relationship¨ between CIA and Polish intelligence

Joseph Fitsanakis

A NEW BOOK BY longtime Washington Post foreign correspondent John Pomfret details what the author describes as “a hugely important intelligence relationship” between the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence community of Poland.

 

In From Warsaw With Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance (Henry Holt and Co., October 2021), Pomfret claims that Polish intelligence has “functioned for decades almost as an adjunct to the [CIA]”.

According to Pomfret, the “special relationship” between the CIA and Polish intelligence began in the spring of 1990, when the first meeting between the two sides was arranged following a CIA official’s impromptu visit to Poland’s embassy in Portugal. Later that year, a team of Polish intelligence officers managed to exfiltrate half a dozen American government workers who had been left behind in Baghdad, as the US was preparing to launch a military operation in Kuwait, aimed at ejecting thousands of Iraqi troops from the tiny oil kingdom.

By the mid-1990s, the relationship between the CIA and Polish intelligence could be described as “special”, says Pomfret. Accordingly, the CIA station in Warsaw hosted “a flood of new joint operations” as its case officers were “working with Polish spies across the globe”. This formed a “blood bond” between the two services, claims Pomfret, with the Poles even allowing American intelligence officers to “roam through the headquarters of the Polish spy agency unescorted”.

Additionally, Polish intelligence handled assets in “some of the world’s most dangerous places”, as well as access to countries where the United States had no intelligence presence —for instance North Korea and Cuba. In the 2000s, CIA commended several Polish intelligence officers for the Legion of Merit, which is the US military’s highest award offered to citizens of foreign countries. Among the Legion of Merit recipients was a team of Polish intelligence officers who successfully collected air samples near nuclear facilities in Iran, according to Pomfret.

The relationship between American and Polish spies was not always smooth. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Poland hosted what was arguably the most important of the CIA’s global network of “black sites”, where terrorism detainees were interrogated, often violently. The CIA kept Polish officials away from the black site, while at the same time promising to keep under wraps the former communist country’s role in the controversial scheme. That promise was not kept, however, as Poland was eventually outed as being among a long list of hosts of CIA black sites, says Pomfret.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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