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Constitutional Status of Polish Intelligence Services since 1989 – Intelligence vs. the Police

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Abstract

CONSTITUTIONAL STATUSOF POLISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICES SINCE 1989 – INTELLIGENCE VS. THE POLICE The aim of the paper is to focus on two characteristic features which make it difficult to define precisely the constitutional position of Polish intelligence services. First of all, there is no concise concept referring to the place and role that Polish intelligence services should play after 1989. Secondly, intelligence services lack clear distinction from police services. Not only are these services organized in a similar way but also their tasks and powers are alike. Here the question arises: where is the border between intelligence services and police services which were created for different purposes and which have other methods of interfering in individual’s rights and freedom.
ARTICLES GLOBAL AND COMPARATIVE SECURITY ISSUES
ABSTRACT
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.14.2017.50.10
Mateusz KOLASZYŃSKI
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
mateusz.kolaszynski@uj.edu.pl
CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS
OF POLISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICES
SINCE 1989 – INTELLIGENCE VS. THE POLICE1
The aim of the paper is to focus on two characteristic features which make it
difficult to define precisely the constitutional position of Polish intelligence
services. First of all, there is no concise concept referring to the place and role
that Polish intelligence services should play after 1989. Secondly, intelligence
ser vices lack clear distinction from police services. Not only are these services or-
ganized in asimilar way but also their tasks and powers are alike. Here the ques-
tion arises: where is the border between intelligence services and police services
which were created for different purposes and which have other methods of in-
terfering in individual’s rights and freedom.
Key words: intelligence services, internal security, law entforcement and police
Pursuant to Polish legislation, intelligence services include: the Internal Security Agen-
cy (Polish abbreviation: ABW), the Foreign Intelligence Agency (AW), the Central
Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), the Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW)
and the Military Intelligence Service (SWW).2 Complex presentation of their consti-
tutional status is not the purpose of this work.3 The article aims at discussing two char-
1 This paper has been realized within the project no 2012/05/N/HS5/02373 financed by National
Science Centre.
2 See e.g. article 11 the Law of 24 May 2002 on the Internal Security Agency and the Foreign Intelli-
gence Agency.
3 Comprehensive description of constitutional status of intelligence services, see i.a. A. Gruszczak , “The
Polish Intelligence Services”, in T. Jäger, A. Daun (eds.), Geheimdienste in Europa. Transformation,
Kooperation und Kontrolle, Wiesbaden 2009; A. Rzepliński, “Security Services in Poland and Their
Oversight”, in J.-P. Brodeur, P. Gill, D. Töllborg (eds.), Democracy, Law and Security. Internal Securi-
ty Services in Contemporary Europe, Hampshire–Burlington 2003; A. Zybertowicz, “An Unresolved
214 POLITEJA 5(50)/2017
Mateusz Kolaszyński
acteristic features which make it difficult to define precisely the constitutional position
of the intelligence services. First of all, there is no concise concept referring to the place
and role that Polish intelligence services should play after 1989. Secondly, intelligence
services lack clear distinction (especially the Internal Security Intelligence and the Cen-
tral Anti-Corruption Bureau) from the Police, the Border Guard or the Military Gen-
darmerie. Not only are these services organized in asimilar way but also their tasks and
powers are alike. Here the question arises: where is the border between intelligence
services and police services which were created for different purposes and which have
other methods of interfering in individual’s rights and freedom?
Intelligence services in Poland were frequently disbanded and replaced with new,
similar structures. Such practice is aproof that their role is neither stable nor regulated.
At the beginning of the 1990s there were two secret service institutions in Poland. The
first was the Office for State Protection (UOP) created by virtue of the act of 6 April
1990 on the Office for State Protection. This institution was responsible for civil in-
telligence and counterintelligence. Under the previous Communist regime such tasks
were performed by the Security Service (SB). The creation of UOP in 1990 caused
aconsiderable change. That entity had an independent organizational structure and
was separated from both the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Police.4 Before that,
the police (Civic Militia) and SB functioned within one hierarchized structure – the
Ministry of Internal Affairs.
When it comes to military intelligence services, II Department of Intelligence and
Counterintelligence of the General Staff in the Polish Army functioned for 13 months
and after that on 22 August 1991 the Military Information Services (WSI) were cre-
ated. The organization which was supposed to be dealing with military counterintel-
ligence became directly subordinated to the Ministry of National Defense and existed
within its structure as the Inspectorate of Military Information Services. The structure
of WSI was based on the inspectorate, field organizational units and special organiza-
tional units. It is worth noting that till the very end of its existence WSI was an integral
part of the Polish Armed Forces.5 It was formed by soldiers, including its chief officer
who was not acentral government administration authority. Not until 2003 was consti-
tutional status of WSI regulated by the law. Before that, its organization and function-
ing were mostly based on regulations of numerous normative acts while its constitu-
tional foundation remained limited.6 With reference to the second problem, it should
be underlined that in 1996 the Constitutional Tribunal resolved aquestion of granting
police authorities to intelligence services. It was then clearly stated that WSI was not
Game: The Role of the Intelligence Services in the Nascent Polish Democracy”, in H. Born, L.K.John-
son, I. Leigh (eds.), Who’s Watching the Spies? Establishing Intelligence Service Accountability, Washing-
ton 2005; M. Kolaszyński, Status ustrojowy polskich służb specjalnych po 1989 roku, Kraków 2016.
4 See S. Płowucha, Zagadnienia prawne organizacji ifunkcjonowania Policji, Szczytno 1995, p. 6.
5 I.K. Szostek, Służby specjalne wsystemie bezpieczeństwa Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na przykładzie Wojsko-
wych Służb Informacyjnych, Warszawa 2012, p. 59.
6 See more J. Niedziela, “Nowe podstawy prawne działania Wojskowych Służb Informacyjnych”, Woj-
skowy Przegląd Prawniczy, vol. 4 (2003), pp.34-45.
215POLITEJA 5(50)/2017 Constitutional status of Polish intelligence services…
entitled to such powers. According to the Tribunal, the legislator granted the Mili-
tary Gendarmerie rights to conduct criminal investigation activities in Polish Armed
Forces.7 Since that time, the idea of granting such authorities to military intelligence
services exists only in the literature and can be considered aminority view.8
It was quite common for both UOP and WSI to blend intelligence and counter-
intelligence within one structure – civil in the first organization and military in the
second one. As amatter of fact, civil secret services were first to undergo separation of
intelligence and counterintelligence structures. It took place in 2002 when by virtue
of act on the Internal Security Agency and the Foreign Intelligence Agency of 24May
2002 UOP was replaced with ABW and AW. Pursuant to that act, ABW was sup-
posed to be responsible for internal security of the state and its constitutional order
(section1). AW was expected to deal with external security (section 2).
The split in military intelligence service occurred four years later. In 2006 WSI was
disbanded and replaced with two new institutions (by virtue of the act on Military
Counterintelligence and Military Intelligence of 9 June 2006): SKW and SWW. Con-
trary to WSI, these organizations were excluded from the armed forces structures
9
and
resembled civil intelligence services in terms of their structure. The heads of these insti-
tutions were granted the status of central government administration authority. What
is more, not only soldiers but also officers were allowed to serve the duty in SKW and
SWW. However, police powers were still not granted to military intelligence services.
The same year CBA was granted the status of intelligence service. CBA was cre-
ated by virtue of the act on the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau of 9 June 2006. It
is worth noting that this institution is supposed to fight corruption in public life and
its responsibilities are not connected with intelligence or counterintelligence, unlike
the rest of special services. The question whether CBA should function independently
arose while working on the regulation which was expected to define the status of the
bureau. The idea of including CBA into the Police structures was quite popular. It was
supposed to have asimilar status to the Central Bureau of Investigation (Polish abbre-
viation: CBŚ) at that time. This way, the structures of the Police would have consisted
of two specialized units of high autonomy responsible for fighting the most serious or-
ganized crime (CBŚ) and economic crime (CBA). Supporters of that idea claim that
incorporating CBA into the Police structures would not only provide awider access to
all data and extensive logistic base but also reduce its operating costs. Additionally, the
organization would remain indifferent to any political pressure.10
7 The Act of the Constitutional Tribunal of 16 January 1996, file ref. no. W12/94.
8 See K. Kula, “Obszar działania Służby Kontrwywiadu Wojskowego”, Wojskowy Przegląd Prawniczy,
vol. 4 (2010).
9 However, according to the Art. 3, section 8 on general defence obligation of 21 November 1967, du-
ring general or partial mobilization or during the wartime, SKW and SWW automatically become
apart of the Armed Forces.
10 See J. Paradowska, “CBA wręce policji”, Polityka, no. 50 (2012), p. 10.
216 POLITEJA 5(50)/2017
Mateusz Kolaszyński
Any questions concerning which solution is more reasonable, whether intelligence
and counterintelligence should be operating within one structure or should be split are
beyond the scope of this work.11 Both solutions exist in democratic countries. For in-
stance, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is accountable for both intelligence
and counterintelligence operations.12 Meanwhile, in Germany the Federal Intelligence
Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst) deals with intelligence while counterintelligence
is run by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für
Verfassungsschutz).13 Here, it shall be emphasized that since 1990 Polish intelligence
services have been undergoing frequent structural changes. Within the recent 25 years,
two intelligence services were transformed into five agencies: ABW, AW, CBA, SKW
and SWW. As aresult, the issue of separating special and police services stopped being
aconcern for AW which was deprived of police-like privileges. As it was mentioned
before, such privileges also did not apply to military intelligence services – SKW or
SWW.
Along with structural changes, the status of the heads of intelligence services was
also being remodeled. Initially, the head of UOP had central government administra-
tion authority. Such status was supposed to guarantee political neutrality and was simi-
lar to the status of the Police Commander in Chief as well as the Border Guard Com-
mander in Chief. This approach was abandoned between 2001 and 2002 when ABW
and AW were created and politicians were appointed as the heads of these organiza-
tions. According to the draft of the act on the Internal Security Agency and the Foreign
Intelligence Agency of 24 May 2002, the heads of both institutions were given central
government administration authority (Art. 3, section 1) as the secretaries of state (Art.
14, section 1). The explanatory statement of the bill claims that politically impartial
chiefs of intelligence services are amyth and ‘propaganda slogan’ which is especially
visible in terms of appointing candidates for these positions.14
In the end, the Constitutional Tribunal15 ruled that Art. 14, section 1 of the act on
ABW and AW is not in line with Art. 103, section 1 of the Constitution in terms of
granting the title of secretaries of state to the chiefs of ABW and AW.16 According to
11 See P. Gill, Policing Politics. Security Intelligence and the Liberal Democratic State, London 1994,
pp.208-209; M. Minkina, Sztuka wywiadu wpaństwie współczesnym, Warszawa 2014, pp. 370-371.
12 C. Forcese, “Parliamentary and Specialised Oversight of Security and Intelligence Agencies in Cana-
da”, in A. Wills, M. Vermeulen (eds.), Parliamentary Oversight of Security and Intelligence Agencies in
the European Union, Brussels 2011, p. 318.
13 A. Daun, “Die deutschen Nachrischtendienste”, in T. Jäger, A. Daun (eds.), Geheimdienste in Euro-
pa…, pp. 59-64; P. Ebert, Nachrichtendienste als Regierungsinstrument. Zwischen gouvernementaler
Steuerung und rechtsstaatlicher Kontrolle, Jena 2009, p. 3.
14 Sejm RP, Rządowy projekt ustawy oAgencji Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, Agencji Wywiadu oraz
zmianie niektórych ustaw (druk 276), Warszawa 2002. See M. Bożek, “Usytuowanie służb specjalnych
wsystemie organów państwowych”, in idem et al., Służby specjalne wstrukturze władz publicznych. Za-
gadnienia prawnoustrojowe, Warszawa 2014, pp. 55-56.
15 The ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal of 20 April 2004, file ref. no. K 45/02.
16 The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997.
217POLITEJA 5(50)/2017 Constitutional status of Polish intelligence services…
the Constitutional Tribunal, such apractice was away of evading the constitutional
regulation which does not allow connecting aparliamentary seat with employment in
government administration. The Tribunal claimed that the only legal effect of such
atitle was the possibility to connect the function of the head of the agency with apar-
liamentary seat. In fact, the essence of the regulation was not to modify the status of the
chiefs of agencies in terms of the public law (which resembles, for instance, the status
of the Police Commander in Chief ). Also, it was not about providing them with some
special responsibilities and powers since all of them can be found in either the act on
ABW and AW or general regulations on privileges of central government administra-
tion agencies.17
In accordance with current norms, the Prime Minister exercises significant freedom
when it comes to appointing candidates as the chiefs of the above mentioned services.
Recent years have shown that these positions are usually held by high-rank officials of
intelligence or other uniformed services as well as people without any experience in
such institutions, including politicians.
The Polish intelligence services also underwent frequent changes of personnel.
Such decisions are usually politically based and do not respect the merits of the matter.
This is what makes intelligence services different from police services. Political disputes
concerning intelligence services’ personnel started at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s.
The first discussion brought up the question of how to deal with people who served
their duty in the Security Service (SB) in the times of the Polish People’s Republic.
This debate concentrated on civil intelligence services. On the contrary, at that time
military intelligence services did not undergo such an extensive and formal process of
staff verification. In the following years, politicians visibly interfered in the personnel
working for intelligence services. All personal changes were strictly connected with par-
liamentary elections. Based on their results, government coalitions were later created.18
In military intelligence services such extensive and institutionalized personnel veri-
fication was not conducted. There were no clear rules about recruiting for WSI and the
majority of the positions were given to soldiers of military intelligence. According to
Andrzej Żebrowski, as aresult of military intelligence services’ restructuring between
1990 and 1992, 798 soldiers of military intelligence and counterintelligence were dis-
missed and transferred beyond the structures of WSI.19 Since there were no clear rules
about recruiting for WSI in 1991, there was apopular belief that this institution is
somehow connected with organizations from the previous political system. Such aco-
operation was supposed to include subjection to their Soviet and later Russian equiva-
17 The ruling was acknowledged in the doctrine, see P. Radziewicz, “Glosa do wyroku Trybunału Kon-
stytucyjneg o z20 kwietnia 2004 r. (sygn. akt K 45/02)”, Przegląd Sejmowy, vol. 6 (2004), pp. 163-171.
18
D. Rowicka, “Służby specjalne wPolsce”, in J. Widacki, J. Czapska (eds.), Bezpieczny obywatel – bezpiecz-
ne państwo, Lublin 1998, p. 110; J. Widacki, “System bezpieczeństwa wewnętrznego – ewolucja struk-
tur ifunkcji”, in L. Kolarska-Bobińska (ed.), Druga fala polskich reform, Warszawa 1999, pp. 224-225.
19 A. Żebrowski, Ewolucja polskich służb specjalnych. Wybrane obszary walki informacyjnej (wywiad
ikontrwywiad wlatach 1989-2003), Kraków 2005, pp. 295-297.
218 POLITEJA 5(50)/2017
Mateusz Kolaszyński
lents.20 As amatter of fact, this opinion had asignificant influence on personnel verifi-
cation in 2006 – 15 years after WSI was created.
Furthermore, in the past 25 years intelligence services have been controlled by vari-
ous authorities of different political status. Civil intelligence services were subjected to
the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Prime Minister and the Minister-Coordinator of
Special Services. At the same time, military intelligence services were supervised by the
General Staff and the Minister of National Defense. Here as well, political factors were
the main motive of next reforms. This is another feature which distinguishes special
services from police services. Since the beginning of the 1990s the latter have been sig-
nificantly more stable.
Another factor which determines constitutional status of intelligence services is
their scope of responsibilities. Constitutional position of these institutions is defined
by their intelligence and counterintelligence duties. Carrying them out enables intelli-
gence services to stand close to the center of political power. Such an arrangement is the
only way which makes them perform their essential function – supporting the decision-
making process of the government using accessible and analyzed data.21
However, intelligence and counterintelligence duties are not the only tasks that Pol-
ish intelligence services are responsible for. It is common that their responsibilities in-
volve tasks which should nominally belong to police authorities. This in turn causes
lack of clear division between these organizations. Nowadays, there are two Polish spe-
cial services which perform duties typical for police services. ABW, the first one, took
over police tasks from UOP.22 The second institution is CBA. As it was mentioned
before, none of its duties can be involved in the scope of typical intelligence or coun-
terintelligence functions. Therefore, the question arises: why was that institute granted
astatus of intelligence service since it does not deal with either intelligence or counter-
intelligence? As amatter of fact, it is frequently explained that this agency is supposed
to fight corruption and economic crime but only when there is areal threat to the state
safety. The former head of CBA, Paweł Wojtunik, confirmed such an approach by say-
ing that the institution was trying to run preparatory and control procedures of high
gravity in order not to waste energy and resources on minor issues.23 On the other side,
he also once claimed that CBA took proceedings in all cases, no matter if they were se-
rious or not.24 In this case, the bureau functions as acoordinator in the matters of cor-
20 J. Jakimczyk, “Jednostka nr 3362”, Rzeczpospolita, 16 July 2003.
21 M. Minkina, Sztuka wywiadu…, p. 170.
22 See B. Dolnicki, “Policyjne funkcje państwa wPolsce”, in K. Nowacki (ed.), Problemy prawa angielskie-
go ieuropejskiego oraz reformy wEuropie Środkowej (Polska, Węgry), Wrocław 2000, pp. 395-399.
23 Senat RP, Sprawozdanie Stenograficzne z55. posiedzenia Senatu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej wdniach 5 i6
czerwca 2014 r., Warszawa 2014, p. 62.
24 It is worth mentioning that in 2013 there were 13 706 signals reported to CBA about potential cases
of corruption. In the year before there were 5 thousand fewer cases like that, see Centralne Biuro An-
tykorupcyjne, Informacja owynikach działalności Centralnego Biura Antykorupcyjnego w2013 roku,
Warszawa 2014, p. 14.
219POLITEJA 5(50)/2017 Constitutional status of Polish intelligence services…
ruption and transfers some cases to the Police.25 What is more, the head of CBA said
that the bureau also took care of monitoring economic threats and updating the Prime
Minister about them. This would prove it also runs analytical activities which are com-
mon for intelligence services.26
The fight against organized crime is one of ABW’s duties which is worth mention-
ing because in this aspect the agency competes with the Police, especially the Central
Bureau of Investigation (CBŚ). Another task, which is common for many different in-
stitutions, is combatting economic crime. It is assigned to the Police, the Border Guard,
the National Revenue Agency (KAS) and even CBA. Also fighting with corruption is
aduty which may cause some disputes about the scope of responsibilities. In the last
two cases, such adispute occurs not only between intelligence services and other in-
ternal security services but also in ABW and CBA. ABW was granted these duties be-
cause, similarly to CBA, it is expected to deal with the most serious crimes which pose
adanger to constitutional order or to general independence in the international mean-
ing.
There is also one more question which arises from the issue of police duties be-
ing assigned to intelligence services: should they be so close to the center of political
power? When it comes to police duties, such aclose connection to government is not
necessary. These tasks do not require from the services to provide politicians with up-
to-date analyses and data. Quite on the contrary, such an arrangement might lead to
excessive political interference in some preliminary proceedings in criminal cases and
this area requires astrict control over uniform services by the public prosecutor. Here,
it is vital to see how ABW and CBA managed to cumulate various privileges. They
are entitled to conduct preliminary investigation activities and analytical and informa-
tive tasks which are common for information services. They are also granted control
and criminal investigative powers, typical for public administration. At the same time,
SKW is permitted to conduct all the activities, except for criminal investigative ones.
Intelligence services (AW and SWW) are only entitled to conduct preliminary investi-
gation activities and analytical and informative tasks.
The fact that intelligence services are allowed to lead analytical and informative
activities does not raise any doubt. These duties involve processing data and transfer-
ring the most essential ones (important from the security perspective) to the supreme
authority in the country. Such privileges are typical only for intelligence and counterin-
telligence, not for police services. Preliminary investigation activities form the second
pillar of special services’ functions. They enable the services to secretly obtain some in-
formation which are essential from the political, military and economic perspective.27
However, this scope of duties is also exercised by police services, for instance in order
25 Senat RP, Sprawozdanie Stenograficzne z55. posiedzenia..., p. 72.
26 The scope of this analytical activity in 2013 were represented in the form of 19 studies addressed to the
Prime Minister, see ibid., pp. 64-65; Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne, Informacja owynikach działal-
ności..., p. 14.
27 J. Konieczny, “Czynności operacyjno-rozpoznawcze”, in J. Widacki (ed.), Kryminalistyka, Warszawa
2008, p. 125; cf. S. Hoc, S. Zalewski, “Czynności operacyjno-rozpoznawcze organów państwa: cele,
220 POLITEJA 5(50)/2017
Mateusz Kolaszyński
to discover crimes. To sum up, in Poland nine different agencies might perform pre-
liminary investigation activities.28 Five of them are special services, the remaining four
include: the Police, the Border Guard, the Military Gendarmerie and the National Rev-
enue Agency. These nine, or sometimes ten,29 services are entitled to perform very simi-
lar preliminary investigation activities. Considering only normative acts, it cannot be
said that intelligence services and police services have managed to create separate stan-
dards in the previously described matters.
Apart from these basic powers, ABW and CBA are also entitled to run criminal in-
vestigation activities, which is more common for police than intelligence services.30 As
the Constitutional Tribunal ruled, investigation activities are an integral part of crime
detection.31 ABW and CBA, as well as the Police, take part in preliminary proceedings
in criminal case and their tasks are to conduct criminal proceedings under the super-
vision of the prosecutor. In order to do so, officers are allowed to use some means of
coercion. Such privileges are not indispensable for intelligence or counterintelligence
agencies in atraditional meaning. It is emphasized that being entitled to police pow-
ers on such ascale should be regulated by awhole set of normative rules. In that mat-
ter, an officer holds constitutional rights related to criminal proceedings, especially the
right to afair trial and disclosure principle of court proceedings (Art. 45).32 Such aset
of rules should also include aprinciple which would allow any police interference in
case there is an actual breach of binding order. As aresult, no police actions would be
allowed when there is only ahypothetical threat to the state security and public order.33
Naturally, monitoring ‘hypothetical’ threats to the state safety constitutes an elemen-
tary rule of intelligence and counterintelligence activities.
Three Polish intelligence services (ABW, CBA, SKW) also conduct control activi-
ties. In case of counterintelligence, the powers are strictly connected with protection of
classified information and are given to officers in accordance with the act on protection
of classified information of 5 August 2010.
zakres itryb stosowania na przykładzie służb specjalnych”, in M. Gajos, S. Zalewski (eds.), Ochrona in-
formacji niejawnych ibiznesowych. Materiały IKongresu, Katowice 2005, pp. 74-96.
28 According to one of the concepts presented in the source literature, all formations entitled to perform
preliminary investigation activities are considered to be special ser vices, see i.a. S. Zalewski, Służby spe-
cjalne wpaństwie demokratycznym, Warszawa 2005, pp. 22-30.
29 Additionally, the Government Protection Bureau (BOR) is also entitled to conduct some prelimi-
nary investigation activities although it does not hold any general power to perform such duties, see
J.Mąka, “Kontrola operacyjna ipodsłuch – ocena na tle praktycznego stosowania”, Przegląd Bezpie-
czeństwa Wewnętrznego, vol. 4 (2011), p. 45.
30 M. Bożek, “Współczesny model polskich służb. Służby informacyjne czy policyjne?”, Zeszyty Naukowe
AON, vol. 1 (2005), p. 93.
31 The Act of the Constitutional Tribunal…
32 See e.g. B. Przybyszewska-Sz ter, “Wolności iprawa osobiste”, in M. Chmaj (ed.), Wolności iprawa czło-
wieka wKonstytucji Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, Kraków 2006, p. 118.
33 See B. Dolnicki, “Policyjne funkcje państwa…”, pp. 396-397.
221POLITEJA 5(50)/2017 Constitutional status of Polish intelligence services…
However, control activities run by CBA are of different character. They clearly de-
rive from the act on CBA and are inseparably connected with overall activity of that in-
stitution. Granting such rights to Bureau never spurred any controversy while discuss-
ing the draft of the act on CBA in 2006 – there was ageneral belief that this privilege
is complementary to other rights which were supposed to be given to that institution.
According to the explanatory statement of the bill, joining preliminary investigation
activities, criminal investigation and control actions will make the Bureau highly ef-
fective, especially after control arrangements are confirmed and improved in prepara-
tory proceedings.34 Therefore, control activities were supposed to become abasis or an
introduction for further steps connected with criminal investigation actions taken by
CBA agents. Cumulating such responsibilities in the hands of one organization raises
some objections in the doctrine. The most visible issue here is the lack of objectivity
in the control, especially when it is focused on prosecution of crimes.35 Naturally, the
main purpose of such activities makes CBA more similar to police structures rather
than intelligence or counterintelligence.
Such resemblance between special and police services makes it difficult to point out
to common structural and functional features of Polish special services. Comparing to
other institutions of government administration, this peculiarity is mostly visible in
exercising supervision and control. In this case, it is therefore quite unusual to create
special institutions which are supposed to exercise such powers. However, organiza-
tions like that started to appear at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. Changes in political
system at that time made it possible to incorporate intelligence services into the laws of
democratic country. Current institutions of such type were created in the mid-1990s:
the Collegium for Secret Services subject to the Cabinet and the Sejm Committee for
Secret Services.36 It is worth noting that these organizations are close not only to the
executive and legislative authority in general but also to the institutions (the Cabinet
and the Sejm) which are apart of current political battles. Special services are therefore
located close to the center of the power, which makes them more vulnerable to any
changes on the political arena.
Apart from those two institutions, control system over intelligence services does
not really differ from the one of public administration. Intelligence services are apart
of government administration and to asignificant extent are incorporated into con-
stitutional solutions which do not distinguish them from other state authorities. The
34 Sejm RP, Rządowy projekt ustawy oCentralnym Biurze Antykorupcyjnym (druk 275), Warszawa 2006.
35 P. Szustakiewicz, “Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne jako instytucja kontroli”, Kontrola Państwowa,
vol. 3 (2008), p. 76.
36 See more P. Czarny, “Sejmowa Komisja do Spraw Służb Specjalnych na tle ogólnych dylematów parla-
mentarnej kontroli tych służb, Przegląd Sejmowy, vol. 3 (2008); P. Radziewicz, “Uprawnienia, środ-
ki, działania oraz prawne podstawy funkcjonowania Sejmowej Komisji do Spraw Służb Specjalnych,
Przegląd Legislacyjny, vol. 2 (2006); A. Żebrowski, “Parlament asłużby specjalne wPolsce (zarys pro-
blematyki), in M. Grzybowski, G. Kuca, P. Mikuli (eds.), Ustroje. Historia iwspółczesność. Polska, Eu-
ropa, Ameryka Łacińska. Księga jubileuszowa dedykowana profesorowi Jackowi Czajowskiemu, Kraków
2013.
222 POLITEJA 5(50)/2017
Mateusz Kolaszyński
Constitutional Tribunal is asignificant part of the control system. Its most important
role is to decide whether aparticular law is compliant with the constitution. In this
matter, there are naturally no exceptions when it comes to laws concerning structure
and functioning of intelligence services. The Ombudsman is granted surveillance au-
thority as well. As amatter of fact, it has frequently intervened in activities of intelli-
gence services.37
Similar solutions can also be observed in case of other uniform services, the Police
and the Border Guards in particular. It mostly refers to judicial control over some pre-
liminary investigation activities and concerns all nine formations which are entitled
to exercise operational control.38 These facts also relate to the Supreme Audit Office
(NIK). During numerous audits, NIK never differentiated intelligence from police ser-
vices by running, for instance, an audit referring to the quality of new ABW, CBA or
Police officers.39 There are also no distinctive features in prosecutor supervision over
preparatory proceedings run by the Police, ABW or CBA.40
***
To summarize, it is problematic to point out structural and functional elements which
would be common for all five Polish intelligence services and would expressly distin-
guish them from other uniform services. They are organized in acomparable way, par-
tially responsible for the same tasks and are entitled to exercise preliminary investiga-
tion activities under the same conditions. Additionally, ABW and CBA are granted the
rights typical for police services. One fundamental factor which differentiates intelli-
gence services form police ones is the fact that intelligence services are subject to close
monitoring. This control is exercised by: the Collegium for Secret Services and the
Sejm Committee for Secret Services. However, it is crucial to notice that both institu-
tions operate within executive and legislative authority which is where current politi-
cal battles take place. Other institutions of control treat intelligence services under the
same conditions as other state authorities.
It seems that characteristic features of intelligence services might be found in the
area of political practice. These services are located close to the center of power and
are therefore more vulnerable to any changes on the political arena. To some extent
this would explain why common solutions in terms of supervision and surveillance are
37 See e.g. Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, “Informacja Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich za rok 2012”, Biu-
letyn Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich, vol. 1 (2013), p. 30; Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, “Informacja
Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich za rok 2004”, Biuletyn Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich, vol. 50 (2005),
pp. 39-40.
38 For abroader discussion of this topic, see M. Kolaszyński, “Kontrola zewnętrzna nad niektórymi czyn-
nościami operacyjno-rozpoznawczymi”, Bezpieczeństwo. Teoria iPraktyka, vol. 3 (2012).
39 See e.g. Najwyższa Izba Kontroli, Informacja owynikach kontroli. Nabór, postępowanie kwalifikacyjne
iszkolenie nowo przyjętych funkcjonariuszy, Warszawa 2013; Najwyższa Izba Kontroli, Informacja owy-
nikach kontroli. Uzyskiwanie iprzetwarzanie przez uprawnione podmioty danych zbilingów, informacji
olokalizacji oraz innych danych, októrych mowa wart. 180 c id ustawy prawo telekomunikacyjne, Wa r-
szawa 2013.
40 S. Waltoś, P. Hofmański, Proces karny. Zarys systemu, Warszawa 2013, pp. 176-177.
223POLITEJA 5(50)/2017 Constitutional status of Polish intelligence services…
created within executive and legislative areas. It is not about controlling intelligence
services. It is rather abattle to take control over these institutions. The fact that they
are located so close to the center of power explains frequent structural and personal
changes which are made by successive ruling parties. Afterwards, ruling politicians are
not interested in limiting powers of intelligence services but they rather try to expand
their range of responsibilities, including those usually granted to police services.
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and uniformed services in the Polish system of internal security.
... Indeed, there is a lack of clear division between intelligence services and police services in Poland (Gruszczak 2009). Currently, this problem applies to the CBA and the ABW (Kolaszyński 2017). Polish special services are institutions which undergo a specific process of oversight and control. ...
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Intelligence is about information but also about security. This slightly simplified wording touches nevertheless upon the essential ingredients of any intelligence activity. As Lowenthal grasped this relationship in his well-known definition, “intelligence is the process by which specific types of information important to national security are requested, collected, analyzed, and provided to policymakers.” (Lowenthal 2005: 8). Even though numerous experts sought to put forward more comprehensive conceptual proposals, interdependence between information, security and policymaking seems to constitute the axis of analysis, interpretation and revision of the very meaning (in definitional as well as operative terms) of intelligence. This assumption is particularly important in undertaking a study of an Intelligence Community in a country like Poland where the concept of security, the perception and assessment of threats as well as the organisation and functioning of intelligence services is to a large extent different from the biggest EU member states and requires adoption of a very peculiar stance.
Usytuowanie służb specjalnych w systemie organów państwowych
  • M Bożek
Bożek M., "Usytuowanie służb specjalnych w systemie organów państwowych", in idem et al., Służby specjalne w strukturze władz publicznych. Zagadnienia prawnoustrojowe, Warszawa 2014.
Współczesny model polskich służb. Służby informacyjne czy policyjne?
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Informacja o wynikach działalności Centralnego Biura Antykorupcyjnego w 2013 roku
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Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne, Informacja o wynikach działalności Centralnego Biura Antykorupcyjnego w 2013 roku, Warszawa 2014. The Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997.
Sejmowa Komisja do Spraw Służb Specjalnych na tle ogólnych dylematów parlamentarnej kontroli tych służb
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Czarny P., "Sejmowa Komisja do Spraw Służb Specjalnych na tle ogólnych dylematów parlamentarnej kontroli tych służb", Przegląd Sejmowy, vol. 3 (2008).
Die deutschen Nachrischtendienste
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Daun A., "Die deutschen Nachrischtendienste", in T. Jäger, A. Daun (eds.), Geheimdienste in Europa. Transformation, Kooperation und Kontrolle, Wiesbaden 2009.
Policyjne funkcje państwa w Polsce
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