Moldova’s Intelligence and Security Service (SIS) is set to obtain expanded intelligence powers, particularly with regards to information gathering and counter-information activity.
The proposals are set to be put before a public debate.
Under the proposed expanded intelligence powers, the SIS will be empowered to intercept phone calls, undertake surveillance actions on individuals, check mail, and verify financial flows, all without first obtaining permission from prosecutors.
“The counter-informative measures that can be carried out with a court order are expressly established in the law,” reads one of the submitted draft proposals, “These are carried out during surveillance and investigation of the residence or the communications by people through different communication systems – verbal, electronic, postal, etc.”
At present, the SIS can only undertake these actions within the framework of a criminal investigation.
The proposed expanded intelligence powers state that SIS operatives will have more powers following a court order issued by a judge. Internal public financial management offices, and the Court of Accounts, will carry out the financial aspects of these activities.
Another provision of the proposal gives the SIS the responsibility to ensure the security of diplomatic missions and consular offices overseas.
“This field is essential but vulnerable at the moment because, in addition to physical security measures, these institutions need protection against the subversive actions of foreign special services,” reads the proposal.
The proposal will first be submitted to parliament before being put to a vote. Experts of the Venice Commission will also be consulted.
According to the SIS, additional control mechanisms are set to be put in place “which will provide additional guarantees” to ensure that fundamental human rights and freedoms in intelligence work are respected.
The proposal also allows for the establishment of a court warrant, which would see court’s authorise the SIS to carry out counter-intelligence measures. This is set to ensure judicial control of the agency.
“The draft legislation is aimed at adjusting the relevant legislation to the European acquis communautaire and providing new tools to reduce the likelihood of risks to national security. Moreover, they will allow strengthening and intensifying the control of the State and society over the Service’s activity and excluding the possibility of abuse,” the SIS explained.
The SIS is currently undergoing a series of reforms. The agency’s management purportedly plans to transform the institution into a more Western-style, modern body. A number of intelligence experts from Western countries are participating in the process.
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