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Poland finds spy devices in government meeting room

May 7, 2024

Polish security services say they have discovered wiretapping devices in a meeting room. The two intelligence agencies involved have not said who they believe is behind the bugging attempt.

Donald Tusk (L), the leader of the Civic Coalition Party (KO) stands together with his Cabinet members during his sworn in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw
The ministers were meeting in Katowice, where Prime Minister Donald Tusk was attending a conferenceImage: Anadolu/picture alliance

A Polish security services official on Tuesday said that devices had been located and taken apart in a government meeting room that was about to be used by ministers.

It was unclear how long the devices had been there, the official said declining to speculate on who had planted them.

What we know about the discovery

"The State Protection Service, in cooperation with the Internal Security Agency, detected and dismantled devices that could be used for eavesdropping in the room where the meeting of the Council of Ministers is to be held today in Katowice," spokesperson Jacek Dobrzynski wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"The services are conducting further activities in this matter," he added.

The Cabinet was meeting in Katowice, a southwestern Polish city where Prime Minister Donald Tusk was attending an economic conference.

Dobrzynski told Poland's TVN24 television that the equipment could register both audio and video. "It's tough to say whether these were devices installed years ago and not discovered earlier" or installed more recently, he said.

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The Cabinet normally holds a weekly meeting in Warsaw but held it in Katowice because of the conference.

Who might be behind the wiretaps?

The discovery comes as Poland and other NATO members find themselves increasingly targets of Russian espionage in the wake of Moscow's invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

It was revealed a day after a Polish judge fled to neighboring Belarus and reportedly asked for asylum over spying allegations that he claimed were "fabricated."

In March, Polish authorities said they had carried out searches in connection with a suspected Russian spy network in Poland using intelligence provided by the Czech Republic.

Polish prosecutors have started an espionage investigation into the judge.

 A Russian historical reenactment fan was also last month jailed in Poland for spying on the European Union country's military on behalf of the Kremlin. 

rc/wmr (AFP, AP, Reuters)