The head of Poland's Ministry of Internal Affairs briefs the Polish President and Prime Minister on a recent meeting with CIA representatives and asks for direction on how to proceed in future talks and proposals for intelligence cooperation.
May 8, 1990
Col. Henryk Jasik (Director of Department I, Ministry of Internal Affairs), 'Re: Meeting with Representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States'
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
[HANDWRITTEN NOTATION TOP LEFT] Original text of report with Min[ister] Cz. Kiszczak's comments has been forwarded to Deputy Minister K. Kozłowski on May 14, 1990. Col. H. Jasik is informed. Signature [probably] K. Smoleński
Warsaw, May 8, 1990
TOP SECRET; 1 copy REPORT
Re: Meeting with representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States
I. In accordance with the agreed assumptions of 2 May 1990, a meeting took place in Lisbon between the three-member delegation of the Intelligence Service of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. Representing the intelligence service of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs:
- Deputy Director of Department I, Col. Bronisław ZYCH;
- Deputy Head of Section II, Department I, Major Krzysztof SMOLEŃSKI;
- resident in Lisbon, Col. Ryszard TOMASZEWSKI.
The CIA was represented by:
- Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations for the USSR and Eastern Europe, Paul REDMOND;
- Director of the Counter-terrorism Center, Frederick TURCO;
- Head (equivalent to the department head in our structures) of the Polish Division, John PALEVICH.
The Parties have agreed that the names of the interlocutors may not be disclosed except for the necessary circle of persons in both services.
The meeting lasted 7 hours. The talks were conducted in the English language.
II. As the host to the meeting, the American side proposed discussing the following issues:
1. the fight against international terrorism;
2. possibility to organize a Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) office in Warsaw;
3. agreeing on the date and place of the next meeting and a system of further working contacts between the two services.
The Director of the CIA Counter-terrorism Center outlined the structure, role and activities of the main directions of his unit, and presented the threat of terrorist activities in the main areas of mutual interest.
The Center operates in a thematic rather than in a territorial structure. Its individual cells carry out broadly understood operational activities against individual identified terrorist groups. This includes: operational reconnaissance, and preventive actions, interaction with other authorized US security services for the identification and repression of perpetrators of terrorism, and coordination of counter-terrorism prevention by all authorized US services and institutions.
Operational reconnaissance carried out by the Center (i.e. the “agent network” method) includes the ascertaining and identification of terrorist groups and persons, their intentions, plans and links, the establishment of logistical channels (sources of supply of weapons and explosives and transport channels, legalization documents, the identification of “specialists”, producers of detonating devices and camouflage objects), hiding places, etc. In addition, the Center establishes and documents the involvement of states and governments in the "sponsorship" of terrorist activities.
Within the framework of counter-terrorism, the above mentioned CIA unit stimulates political pressure on governments supporting terrorist groups, organizes projects aimed at reducing and eliminating economical and technical terrorist facilities, uses inspirational and disinformation measures in order to discourage and deter terrorist action.
After act of terror has taken place, the Center aims to identify the perpetrators through its agent network and, with the help of other authorized U.S. security services, seeks to bring them to justice.
Within the framework of coordination, the Center carries out activities which inspire and encourage the various security services and civil institutions to apply and enhance counter-terrorism prevention.
According to the CIA delegation, there is virtually no threat of terrorism in the United States. The important threat concerns institutions, civil and military citizens and means of transport outside national borders. The main manifestations of terrorist acts are the kidnapping of persons and means of transport, the planting of explosives and shooting. Lebanon is the territory in which the most terrorist groups operate. Among these, the main ones are Abu Nidal’s Organization, the Hezbollah group, the Palestine Liberation Front, the Japanese Revolutionary Army. Of the terrorism sponsoring countries, the most important are: Syria, Iran, Libya, Iraq. The US Government systematically puts political and economic pressure on the governments of these countries, making improvement and possibly normalization of bilateral relations conditional on their withdrawal from supporting terrorism.
The U.S. security services secure 17,000 take-offs and landings of US aircraft in a 24-hour period. Physical air traffic protection systems include high-end technical equipment and specialists assisted by operational reconnaissance (secret personal sources 4 information). CIA officers operating an agent network travel for security reasons using legalization documents. Several officers were killed by terrorists.
Identification of terrorists who use “legalization”, often by means of diplomatic passports, and change their external appearance is a major challenge for the CIA. The Center considers limiting the economic base and eliminating logistical channels of terrorist groups to be a very effective form of combating terrorism. This has significantly reduced the capabilities of terrorists in the Middle East. They will, according to the CIA, seek to transfer their bases to the Eastern and Central European countries.
Due to changes in foreign and domestic policy, Poland is under real threat of terror (one of the reasons: Our consent to transit of Jewish emigrants from the USSR). The CIA has reasonable grounds for believing that Abu Nidal still uses points of support in Poland for his men. Due to the liberal visa regulations, the territory of the Republic of Poland may be used by terrorists as a transit country and a place of concealment after operations. According to the Director of the Center, staff of the Polish offices in Lebanon is very seriously threatened. He suggested a peaceful, gradual withdrawal of Polish staff from the country due to the lack of effective security assurance. The USA has removed all its facilities from Beirut. Private travel of US citizens to Lebanon are highly discouraged.
The safety of passengers and PLL "LOT" airplanes, especially those using airports in Frankfurt am Main and Bangkok, is seriously jeopardized.
The Director of the Center suggested that attention be paid to the possibility that staff from certain Arab States (Syria, Iran, Libya, Iraq) is involved in helping terrorists. The CIA has incontrovertible evidence of such activity of some missions of Arab countries in the West. CIA treats the PLO with reserve. It has legitimate concerns that radical elements in this organization are directly or indirectly involved in supporting terrorist activities.
The US side offered providing more material and detailed information on terrorist groups, and proposed to send flight safety specialists to Poland without excluding simultaneous assistance in technical equipment at the same time. It has committed itself to immediately provide information on direct threats to our citizens or facilities.
On our part, we have informed about our reconnaissance, actions and organization efforts undertaken. We have expressed our readiness to collaborate and cooperate.
In conclusion, both sides shared the view of the global nature of the threat of international terrorism and the need to combat it in the framework of international cooperation.
The head of the Polish CIA Section briefly described the objectives and forms of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), an overt CIA cell, which analyzes and processes information on the basis of press, radio and television sources. FBIS has facilities with receiving antennas installed in 30 countries. On the basis of monitoring of local radio and television stations, as well as press and publications, FBIS produces periodic (including daily), specialized and thematic information for various customers in the USA on political, social, economic, scientific and military issues.
The customers include decision-making circles (they receive studies classified as "for official use") and, on a paid basis, for businesses and even for private individuals. FBIS does not have a facility in Eastern Europe. Therefore, the CIA asked the relevant Polish authorities to ask about the possibility of opening a FBIS office in Warsaw on commercial terms. The facility would have approximately 35 staff (5 US citizens and approximately 30 Polish citizens – language professionals) and would work outside the existing official US agencies. Its activities would be limited to monitoring radio and television broadcasts in Eastern and Central Europe. A summary memo on FBIS is attached.
CIA representatives indicated that it was an unofficial channel survey and only if the Polish authorities responded positively they would make a formal request through diplomatic channels. They made a similar request to two other countries in Eastern Europe, but made it clear that they were very interested in the location of the facility in Warsaw. If we agree, we will receive in return a study which is a "product" of the office. It would take about 2 years to launch upon receipt of consent.
Our interlocutors provided us with a "sample" FBIS study on m.in. terrorism and drug trafficking.
We accepted the proposal as a subject to be handed over to the relevant Polish authorities.
We are familiar with this kind of agentless activity of the CIA. So far, we have not found that FBIS's activities go beyond statutory forms, that is to say, the processing of materials based on official sources. The CIA's proposal deserves to be considered and consulted with radio and television watch specialists, mainly on the aspect of the use of aerials (e.g. their use to listen to secret communication channels).The US side expressed the hope to obtain our preliminary position on this issue at the next meeting.
In the light of both parties' willingness to maintain contact with a view to establishing cooperation, a working communication channel and the date and place of the next meeting were agreed. The current working relationship has been maintained through residents of both services in Lisbon. The next meeting was scheduled in approximately 1 month. From the meeting places presented for consideration by our side (Vienna, Stockholm, Helsinki, Warsaw), the CIA representatives expressed their willingness to come to Warsaw. We have forwarded the invitations. The CIA delegation will probably come in the same composition. Its level will therefore be high due to the position of the Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations in the structure of the CIA.
Both sides stressed their concern to maintain conspiracy of contact [sic; that is, to keep the contacts secret] and intentions regarding cooperation and exchange of information. On the US side, the meeting in Lisbon, in addition to the President and the CIA leadership, was briefed: Secretary of State James BAKER, Advisor to the President of National Security, Brent SCOWCROFT, and the US Ambassador to Warsaw, John DAVIES.
The following topics will be the subject of an agreed meeting in Warsaw:
- combating international terrorism, discussing the problem in a comprehensive, detailed way, including exchange of specific information, setting out the forms and scope of cooperation at expert level, agreeing on operative channels for the provision of ongoing information and communication;
- Foreign Broadcast Information Service; discussion of the CIA proposal details, preliminary position of the Polish side.
It should not be ruled out that the CIA delegation could raise the issue of general political nature, which both sides avoided at the first meeting.
On its own initiative, the US side provided us with official materials and information on the structure, staffing and tasks of the CIA. They do not include the most secret CIA cell, that is the Directorate of Operations. Nevertheless, they are useful for analytical and comparison purposes.
Of the points raised outside the official part ("off the record"), the American side:
- In the context of our inquiry into the changing arrangement in Europe against the background of the German reunification, they said that the CIA is not pursuing its own policy - it provides information to its authorities (literal expression: "we work for the politicians");
- assessed that the rate of utilization of information obtained from operational sources (agent network) accounts for around 7% of all information obtained;
- welcomed the tradition and professionalism of the Polish intelligence service (mentioning for example the "Enigma" case). Reminded the case of Marian Zacharski with regret that it left a "trauma" in the spheres of Congress and the armaments complex of the United States They said that professionals understand such cases, while politicians use them for their own purposes, including bilateral relations. They assessed that if a similar case were to happen again, it would have had a very heavy impact on bilateral relations;
- [The US side] recognized the need to establish contacts with the Polish intelligence service at this stage, despite the lack of support from some politicians. Convinced them that the professionalism of the [intelligence] services and the mutual benefits were the right platform for agreement;
- it informed that the CIA had worked in various forms and in different areas with the security services of some 100 countries. At the same time, it strongly denied information given by Gen. A. KARBAINOW in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbum, informed about talks between the KGB and the CIA on cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and drug trafficking. According to the Director of the CIA Center, there is no intention to start talks with the KGB in the foreseeable future.
- III. 1. The meeting was conducted as intended, its character was preliminary, for orientation purposes. It confirmed the relevance of the decision of the country's political leadership to establish contacts with the CIA and the willingness of the Polish and US intelligence services to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism, as well as drug trafficking and illicit arms trafficking, although the last two topics were only signaled. In this respect, the objective of the meeting has been achieved. Both sides considered it open, constructive, and important.
2. The probe into our openness (proposal for the FBIS Office in Warsaw) deserves comprehensive examination.
3. The parties considered the ideology-free professionalism of both services the contact plane. It is of overriding interest to combat negative phenomena of an international nature.
4. We should assess that establishing contact and cooperation with the CIA can bring us benefits in the purely professional sphere and some political benefits due to the position of the CIA within the US power structures.
5. The open and partner-like conduct of the meeting is to be stressed. Both sides have avoided subtexts and sensitive issues, aiming at closing a certain stage in their mutual relations and at launching a stage of constructive cooperation.
6. In our assessment, the development of cooperation with the CIA should be gradual and its pace and extent should reflect the mutual benefits achieved.
IV. Based on the course of the meeting and the results of the meeting
1. develop a summary memo for the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland;
2. launch active consultations on opportunities to agree to the opening of a Warsaw
3. The CIA’s assessment of the threats to our missions in Lebanon shall be forwarded to the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Similar information on the risk to PLL [Polish Airlines] "LOT" to the relevant cell.
DIRECTOR OF DEPARTMENT I OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
Col. Henryk JASIK
 Translator’s note: that is, „cover”, in the security jargon of the day.
A summary of a meeting between representatives of the Intelligence Service of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Central Intelligence Agency. The two sides discussed cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, the establishment of a FBIS office in Poland, and further exchanges on intelligence sharing and cooperation.
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency
- Intelligence service--United States
- Poland--Foreign relations--United States
- Intelligence service--Poland
- Poland--Politics and government--1989-
- United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service(FBIS)
- Poland. Ministry of Internal Affairs
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].