Security Intelligence Agency

The Security Intelligence Agency (Serbian: Безбедносно-информативна агенција, romanizedBezbednosno-informativna agencija; abbr. БИА / BIA) is a national security and intelligence agency of Serbia. The agency is responsible for collecting, reporting and disseminating intelligence, and conducting counterintelligence in the interest of Serbia's national security.[3]

Security Intelligence Agency
Безбедносно-информативна агенција
Emblem of the Security Intelligence Agency
Agency overview
(current form since 2002)
Preceding agency
HeadquartersBelgrade, Serbia
Annual budget8.26 billion RSD
(70.3 million) (2024)[2]
Agency executive
  • Tomislav Radovanović, Acting Director

History edit

XIX century edit

During the First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813) the civil security and intelligence work was not organized in a separate institution, but was carried out within the military-administrative service of the Revolutionary Serbia. The suppression of espionage conducted by Ottoman Empire and other countries (Habsburg Empire, Russian Empire and at one point in time France as well) was very challenging for military and police authorities of the revolutionary state. Revolutionary authorities targeted infiltrated Ottoman spies and Serbs who provided information to Ottomans.

In 1808 the Governing Council of Revolutionary Serbia issued order to preventively banish from Belgrade and other Serbian cities all individuals that are potentially involved in espionage for the enemy purposes, while police and judicial authorities "were to pay special attention to malevolent people, outlaws, spies and similar". The founding of Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1811 had great significance for the development of security and intelligence functions, since the Ministry of Internal Affairs was, among other missions, in charge of the civil security and intelligence work.[4]

During the rule of Prince Miloš Obrenović great attention was devoted to the organization of security and intelligence activities. The security and intelligence authorities were engaged in secret procurement of weaponry and war equipment from abroad, protection from top secret disclosure, gathering of political and diplomatic notifications, revealing of misinformation on Serbia and its Prince, as well as in channeling of foreign political views towards Prince's policy.

Following the 1878 Berlin Congress, Serbia became an independent country. King Milan Obrenović implemented reforms in 1882 related to the security and intelligence institutions.

Department for Secret Police Work and Police Department edit

Milorad Vujičić, head of the Police Department (1909-1916)

The civil security and intelligence work has been institutionalized for the first time by 1899 Law on amendments of the Organization of the Central State Administration. Law stipulated establishment of the Department for Secret Police Work (Odeljenje za poverljive policijske poslove) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with field of work encompassing intelligence and counterintelligence activities, suppression of anti-state propaganda and outlaw activities, suppression of terrorism. In terms of organization, the secret polices of France and Austria-Hungary served as role models for the Department for Secret Police Work. Jovan Milovanović was named the first head of the Department. Apart from the Head of Department, the Department had secretary and lower ranking officials, as well as an independent archive that stored "all the acts of confidential nature under the special surveillance and care of the Head of Department".

In accordance with the King Aleksandar Obrenović's 1900 Decree, the Department for Secret Police Work was merged into Police Department (Policijsko odeljenje) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Department for Public Security and Department for State Protection edit

After the end of World War I and formation of a new state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, short-lived Department for Public Security (Odeljenje za javnu bezbednost) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was in charge of performing civil security and intelligence work. It was succeeded by the Department for State Protection (Odeljenje za državnu zaštitu) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, established in 1920, with task to conduct intelligence and counter-intelligence work, control, security and keeping of records on foreigners, dealing with immigrant issues and repatriation, suppression of anti-state propaganda, control of foreign military defectors, monitoring and control of associations, various gatherings and manifestations and other issues on which a proper record was kept. Furthermore, the department was in charge of drafting new bills with aim to protect the state.

After introduction of 6 January Dictatorship in 1929 by King Alexander I and subsequent change of the name of the country to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, a series of laws and regulations on state administration were enacted. According to the 1929 Law on Internal Administration, the Department for State Protection was divided into two sections (First Section – for suppressing internal anti-state and destructive propaganda and conducting actions along with the intelligence service; Second Section – for suppressing external anti-state propaganda and conducting actions along with the intelligence service) and three subsections (Subsection for police supervision of foreigners and passenger traffic, Administrative Subsection and Subsection for the Press).

World War II edit

Upon the invasion of Yugoslavia and signing of capitulation on 17 April 1941, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia continued to act within the Yugoslav government-in-exile. Intelligence service of the government-in-exile continued its work within diplomatic missions in allied and neutral countries. The work was primarily oriented towards maintaining relations with homeland and providing financial help to the Chetnik Detachments of the Yugoslav Army, as well as conducting intelligence activities directed to the diplomatic mission of the self-proclaimed Independent State of Croatia in Madrid.

From the very beginning of World War II and establishment of Yugoslav Partisans, committees of the People's Liberation were set up as governing bodies in liberated territories and included bodies in charge of order and security. In September 1941, first Partisan intelligence and counter-intelligence services were established, while in October 1941 there were first intelligence officers in partisan headquarters appointed. In September 1943, the Department for People's Protection (Odeljenje za zaštitu naroda), better known as OZNA, was established within the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia as well as within Partisan units with task to unite intelligence and counter-intelligence work and set up an intelligence service.

Department for Protection of the People (OZNA) edit

Slobodan Penezić "Krcun", head of Serbian branch of OZNA

The Department for Protection of the People - OZNA (Odeljenje za zaštitu naroda) was established on 13 May 1944 as central intelligence and counter-intelligence service within the National Committee for Liberation of Yugoslavia. The division of OZNA for Central Serbia was established in June 1944, divisions for Vojvodina and Kosovo were set up in August that year while in October a special division was established for the City of Belgrade.

OZNA missions included intelligence work directed abroad and towards occupied territory, counter-intelligence protection of liberated territory and military counter-intelligence work.

During its two-year existence, the OZNA used illegal practices which included occasional mass murders of the "enemies of the people" having a notion of conducting the "revolution". The "enemies of the people" included not only local anti-communist forces but also notable individuals who did not support the communists, collaborators with the Axis powers during the occupation, wealthy individuals, and the Serbian Orthodox Church clergy as well as representatives of other religions.[5][6][7][8] This period was also characterized by the strong presence of armed anti-communist operating in western Serbia representing a serious challenge to the new communist authorities.[9] In combating armed anti-communist groups, the OZNA murdered prisoners without any investigation or trial, sometimes also murdering the civilians associated with them.[10] The majority of the atrocities committed by OZNA were hidden from the public during the period of existence of the socialist Yugoslavia.[11]

The Ministry of Justice established in 2005 the commission to research atrocities that were committed by members of the Yugoslav Partisan Movement after they gained control over Serbia in autumn 1944. The report of this commission presented a list of 59,554 registered killings after communist takeover in Serbia.[12]

Directorate for State Security (UDB) and State Security Service (SDB) edit

After the adoption of Constitution of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, subsequent reorganisation of state bodies and state administration followed, according to which a "military" and "civil" part of the OZNA separated. Civilian sections transferred from the Secretariat of National Defence to the Secretariat of Internal Affairs and was renamed State Security Directorate while part which remained under the auspices of the Secretariat of the National Defence formed the Counterintelligence Service - KOS (Kontraobaveštajna služba).

Directorate for State Security - UDB (Uprava državne bezbednosti) was centralized at the federal level (through the Federal Secretariat of Internal Affairs) as well as at the level of secretariats of the internal affairs of six constituent republics and two autonomous provinces. It had the following missions: "organising service, undertaking measures and performing governing tasks with the aim of detecting and preventing activities oriented towards undermining and disrupting constitutionally determined economic, political and legal order and gathering information to this effect."

The UDB was a "political police", answerable to the Communist party organization from which it received its guidelines and to which it reported. The UDB was so deeply rooted in the political system that one of its tasks was the preparation of "political security assessments".

After the ousting of Aleksandar Ranković from power in 1966, process of transformation and decentralization of UDB began. The Federal State Security Service - SSDB (Savezna služba državne bezbednosti) was established within the Federal Secretariat for Internal Affairs and was mainly responsible for intelligence work abroad and coordinating republics' security services. Republics' state security services - SDBs (Službe državne bezbednosti), functioning within republic's secretariats of internal affairs, carried bulk of security work from then forward. This was the first time since the establishment of the socialist Yugoslavia that republics, therefore Serbia as well, gained control and greater influence over their respective security services.

Of primary interest to the SDB was domestic security; identifying and obstructing activities of the "domestic enemy" (i.e. the "bourgeois rightwing", clericalists, members of the Cominform, nationalists, and separatists). Intelligence work abroad was deemed less important and was under federal control.

State Security Directorate (RDB) edit

Emblem of the RDB

In 1991, in the midst of the break-up of Yugoslavia, the State Security Service of Serbia was transformed into the State Security Directorate - RDB (Resor državne bezbednosti) as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The State Security Directorate established in 1991 the Special Operations Unit whose numerous members have been implicated and some sentenced, for war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars, as well as for criminal activities.

On 3 October 1999, a vehicle column of Serbian Renewal Movement, one of largest opposition parties at the time, was attacked while moving down Ibar Highway. Four party officials were killed in the staged accident and party president Vuk Drašković was injured. In a 2007 ruling by the Belgrade District Court former State Security officer and unit's commander Milorad Ulemek, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, former Head of the State Security Directorate Radomir Marković received eight years while other moembers of the unit were sentenced to 14 years in prison.[13]

On 25 August 2000, former president of Serbia and once a rival of Slobodan Milošević, Ivan Stambolić, was detained by the police.[14] Soon after, he was gone missing during his every-day jogging routine. His remains were uncovered in 2003, in Fruška Gora.[15] After a yearlong trial in special court in Belgrade, a judge found Radomir Marković and Milorad Ulemek, guilty of planning and carrying out the assassination of Ivan Stambolić.[16]

Security Intelligence Agency (BIA) edit

The State Security Directorate ceased to exist when the Security Intelligence Agency was established, on 27 July 2002. For the first time in Serbian history, civil security and intelligence work was separated from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Missions edit

The main missions of the Security Intelligence Agency are:[17]

  • security of the Republic of Serbia
  • detection and prevention of the activities aimed at undermining or disrupting of constitutional order of the Republic of Serbia
  • research, processing and assessing the security and intelligence data and information significant for the security of the Republic of Serbia and informing state authorities
  • other activities defined by law

Organization edit

The Security Intelligence Agency is headed by the Director and is subdivided into directorates:[18]

  • Directorate for Operations (Uprava za operativni rad)
  • Directorate for Intelligence (Uprava obaveštajni rad)
  • Directorate for Analytics (Uprava za analitiku)
  • Directorate for Counterintelligence Protection (Uprava za bezbednosnu zaštitu)
  • Directorate for Security (Uprava za obezbeđenje)
  • Technical Directorate (Uprava za tehniku)
  • Directorate for Research, Development and Education (Uprava za istraživanje, razvoj i obrazovanje)
  • Logistics Directorate (Uprava za logistiku)

There are also six regional centers (regionalni centri) located in largest cities as well as 28 territorial centers (teritorijalni centri) in smaller towns spread throughout the country.

Directors edit

The following is a list of heads of the Security Intelligence Agency and its predecessors:[19]

Department for Secret Police Work edit

  • Jovan Milovanović (1899–1900)

Police Department edit

  • Tasa Milenković (1900–1901)
  • Milutin Popović (1901–1903)
  • Đorđe Đorđević (1903–1905)
  • Dragutin Milićević (1905–1906)
  • Obrad Blagojević (1906–1907)
  • Čedomilj Kostić (1907–1909)
  • Milorad Vujičić (1909–1916)

Department for Public Security edit

  • Živojin Lazić (1919–1921)

Department for State Protection edit

  • Vasa Lazarević (1921–1925)
  • Radomir Todorović (1925–1929)
  • Dobrica Matković (1929)
  • Branko Žegarac (1929–1934)
  • Nemanja Ljubisavljević (1934)
  • Dragoslav Lazić (1934–1939)
  • Cvetan Đorđević (1939–1940)
  • Negoslav Ocokoljić (1940)
  • Pavle Đorđević (1940)

Department for Protection of the People (for Serbia) edit

Directorate for State Security (for Serbia) edit

  • Milorad Milatović (1946–1953)
  • Vladan Bojanić (1953–1955)
  • Srećko Milošević (1955–1961)
  • Sava Radojčić (1961–1964)
  • Dragoslav Novaković (1964–1966)

State Security Service edit

  • Rajko Đaković (1966–1971)
  • Milorad Bisić (1971–1974)
  • Srdan Andrejević (1974–1976)
  • Živomir Jovanović (1976–1978)
  • Obren Đorđević (1978–1985)
  • Dragutin Mitrović (1985–1990)
  • Predrag Todorović (1990)
  • Zoran Janaćković (1990–1991)

State Security Directorate edit

Security Intelligence Agency edit

  • Andreja Savić (2002–2003)
  • Miša Milićević (2003–2004)
  • Rade Bulatović (2004–2008)
  • Saša Vukadinović (2008–2012)
  • Nebojša Rodić (2012–2013)
  • Aleksandar Đorđević (2013–2017)
  • Bratislav Gašić (2017–2022)
  • Aleksandar Vulin (2022–2023)
  • Tomislav Radovanović (2023–present)

Traditions edit

Day of the Agency edit

Day of the Security Intelligence Agency is celebrated on 17 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the first security and intelligence service of Serbia. On that day in 1899, the Department for Secret Police Work is founded.

Patron saint edit

The patron saint (krsna slava) of the Security Intelligence Agency is Saint Michael the Archangel (Aranđelovdan).

In popular culture edit

  • Serbian TV series Državni službenik follows the work of one BIA field agent.[20][21]
  • Documentary TV series produced by Radio Television of Serbia Tajne službe Srbije explores the history and lives of notable people during the history of the Agency.[22]
  • Novel Služba (English: Service) by the former BIA agent Goran Živaljević[23]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "U BIA radi oko 2.000 bezbednjaka". (in Serbian). 14 April 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "About Agency / Security Information Agency".
  4. ^ "BIA History".
  5. ^ Tko je tko u NDH: Hrvatska 1941.-1945. Darko Stuparić. Zagreb: Minerva. 1997. p. 41. ISBN 953-6377-03-9. OCLC 38358479. The author talks about numerous examples of civilians and soldiers that collaborated with the Nazis like Zdenko Blažeković and Nikola Mandić.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: occupation and collaboration. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. p. 179. ISBN 0-8047-3615-4. OCLC 45820953. Tomasevich talks about collaboration, and uses Milan Nedić, that commanded the 3rd Army Group during the Nazi invasion.
  7. ^ Newland, Samuel J. (2007). Cossacks in the German army, 1941-1945. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-8199-3. OCLC 191875091.
  8. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). The Chetniks. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0857-6. OCLC 1203356.
  9. ^ Dimitrijević, Bojan (2019). "Intelligence and Security Services in Tito's Yugoslavia 1944–1966" (PDF). Istorija 20. Veka. 37 (2/2019): 9–28. doi:10.29362/ist20veka.2019.2.dim.9-28. Retrieved 3 November 2019. The entire period of the existence of the OZNA (1944–1946), was characterized by improvisation and usage of unlawful practices, including occasional mass killings, in its work against the "enemies of the people." With the notion of having conducted the "revolution," all the OZNA members, from top to bottom, were ruthless and merciless toward many of the local anti-communist forces, POWs, prominent local figures who did not support the communists, prosperous individuals that possessed different wealth, and of course all kinds of representatives of the Church, no matter which religion.
  10. ^ Dimitrijević, Bojan (2019). "Intelligence and Security Services in Tito's Yugoslavia 1944–1966" (PDF). Istorija 20. Veka. 37 (2/2019): 9–28. doi:10.29362/ist20veka.2019.2.dim.9-28. Retrieved 3 November 2019. This period was also characterized by the strong presence of armed anti-communist groups operating in central Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia. Some of them represented a serious challenge to the new communist authorities. In combating them, the OZNA, supported by the units of the KNOJ, executed the captured "outlaws" without any additional investigations or trials, including sometimes even the civilian accomplices of these "outlaws."
  11. ^ Dimitrijević, Bojan (2019). "Intelligence and Security Services in Tito's Yugoslavia 1944–1966" (PDF). Istorija 20. Veka. 37 (2/2019): 9–28. doi:10.29362/ist20veka.2019.2.dim.9-28. Retrieved 3 November 2019. Most of those atrocities remained hidden throughout the period of socialist Yugoslavia until recent times.
  12. ^ "Registar Žrtava". Ministry of Justice, Republic of Serbia. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  13. ^ B92 article on the trial for the Ibar Highway killings
  14. ^ "Detention and Disappearance of Ivan Stambolic". Archived from the original on 2001-12-23.
  15. ^ "Ex-Serb president's body found". CNN. 28 March 2003.
  16. ^ Wood, Nicholas (19 July 2005). "Milosevic Aides Found Guilty of Yugoslav Political Assassination". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "About Agency".
  18. ^ "Organization structure".
  19. ^ "Leadership history".
  20. ^ "Druga sezona Državnog službenika nam je vratila veru u domaće serije". (in Serbian). 2020-11-23. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  21. ^ "OTKRIVAMO: Ko je šef BIA u seriji "Državni službenik"". NOVOSTI (in Serbian). Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  22. ^ Serbia, RTS, Radio televizija Srbije, Radio Television of. "Tajne službe Srbije". Retrieved 2021-03-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "Služba - Goran Živaljević | Laguna". (in Serbian). Retrieved 2021-03-06.

External links edit