SBU reform issue politicized, bill proposed by deputies weakens country's security – Bakanov
The powers of Ukraine's SBU State Security Service in the fight against organized crime and in the economic sphere should remain if this is related to the national security of the country, head of the SBU Ivan Bakanov has said.
The draft law on reforming the SBU, which was developed by the deputies, does not contribute to strengthening national security, its text is very different from the first version submitted by the president, Bakanov said in an exclusive interview to the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
According to the head of the Ukrainian special service, none of the committee members discussed the final version of the text with the SBU. "In general, such a 'reform' of security has nothing to do with the standards of the leading intelligence services of NATO and the EU, to which we all strive. It is more like an attempt to weaken the state and the president," he said.
Bakanov is convinced that the issue of reforming the secret service "has become too politicized."
"I won't be surprised if the enemy special services are trying to influence this process. To undermine confidence in the entire security and defense sector even at the stage of reform, and at the same time the military efficiency is also a special operation. The participants in the discussion need to understand this and be able to stop in time. In particular, in a public discussion of some norms," he said.
Answering the question about what norms of the new edition of the draft law he disagrees with, the head of the SBU said: "With those that have nothing to do with the reform of the SBU. Most of them destroy the Service and, in the conditions of Russian aggression, weaken the entire security system of our country."
Clarifying which aspects can harm state security, Bakanov, in particular, noted that if the SBU is deprived of the functions of pretrial investigation and these powers are transferred to another body, this will entail not only duplication of competence, but also the impossibility of proper investigation, since those cases under investigation by the SBU have their own specifics.
Also, according to Bakanov, initially the bill assumed the concentration of the SBU's efforts on the investigation of crimes threatening the state security, the levers of preventing the SBU from investigating exclusively economic and corruption crimes were thought out. At the same time, the head of the special service emphasized that the SBU still does not have the authority to investigate economic and corruption crimes, and the negative resonance in society is primarily caused by the implementation of certain instructions by the SBU from other law enforcement agencies.
At the same time, according to Bakanov, in the new draft law, the SBU is completely removed from the issues associated with the economy. "Legislators took a mechanical path - they removed all provisions that relate to the economy from their tasks, functions and powers. Nobody even mentioned critical infrastructure facilities or ways of establishing control over strategic enterprises and liquid sectors of the economy by transnational corporations," the SBU head explained.
At the same time, he stressed that "today the SBU is in contact with economic issues only so that the independent state of Ukraine will continue to remain independent, successfully countering threats to state security in the economic sphere."
Bakanov also noted that "legislative manipulations will liquidate the system of combating organized crime." "The danger of such an approach is that organized crime is used by foreign special services for intelligence and subversive activities against Ukraine. This is the financing of terrorism and separatism, and the corrupt infiltration of agents into government agencies," he stressed.
Speaking about the possibility of changing the procedure for appointing the head of the SBU, Bakanov said that it is difficult to implement, since the procedure is spelled out in the Constitution. "But there is a clear desire to limit the constitutional right of the president of Ukraine to choose a candidate for the post of head of the SBU and the right of the Verkhovna Rada to approve this candidacy upon his proposal," he explained.
Answering the question about how soon this draft law can be submitted to parliament for consideration, the head of the SBU expressed his conviction of the need to revise it. "It is difficult to predict when it is adopted, because this is a completely new text ... in fact, there is little left from the protection of state security in it," Bakanov concluded.