Poland’s Defense Ministry officials raided NATO’s Counter-Intelligence Center of Excellence in Warsaw early Friday morning in the assistance of military police to replace the center’s head, Colonel Krzysztof Dusza. Ministry and counter-espionage service officials later returned to proceed with their takeover of the center, which is staffed by Polish and Slovak military personnel, and refused to let Dusza inside, the colonel told local daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
The move is part of efforts by the country’s right-wing government that took power last month to replace senior military officials it considers as backed by the previous center-right government. The Defense Ministry claims its decision was consulted with the Slovak government.
“What is important is that this was agreed with the Slovak side. Slovakia’s Defense Minister was warned about our actions. I personally discussed this with Slovakia’s military attaché in Warsaw. He approved our actions,” Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz told local news weekly Gazeta Polska.
“Based on what I know, officials from the Military Counter-espionage Service and the Ministry of Defense have asked the military personnel to enter the rooms which were occupied by Polish and Slovak personnel of the center, but because they were locked, military policemen refused to do so,” Dusza said.
The ministry said in a statement it has “introduced a new acting director [of the center], Colonel Robert Bala, to the temporary offices of [the center] provided by the Military Counter-espionage Service.”
Since Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won the Oct. 25 parliamentary election and formed a government, the Defense Ministry has launched efforts to replace a number of military officials its politicians claim were backed by the previous government. Earlier this week, the Defense Ministry dismissed the rector of the country’s National Defense University.