Avakov in the details: where exactly intelligence powers for the National Guard are hidden in the draft law No.2412

On January 16, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law “On Intelligence” No.2412 in the first reading. It is obvious that they planned to do a good thing, but, in fact, its wording allows the National Guard to do much more than just tactical military intelligence on the 100-meter battlefield zone near the demarcation line.

1. The National Guard becomes the entity of military intelligence and may be the entity of intelligence association (under part 2, article 9)

This norm does not turn the National Guard of Ukraine into a separate intelligence body. But this status of the entity foresees  following powers (under part 2, article 22):

– to conduct activities related to the organization and execution of separate intelligence tasks with the use of its own resources and means

What this means in practice: since activities are not specified and are not concrete, there are no restrictions regarding their form. And all details will be indicated only in regarding tasks, which will be secret.

– to conduct partial logistical and financial support of activities related to separate intelligence tasks to which they are involved

What this means in practice: secret budget for secret procurements

– to take other measures to ensure that the intelligence task is accomplished

What this means in practice: in fact, permission to conduct all intelligence activities necessary to accomplish the task. They can go far beyond tactical intelligence and implement agents and make surveillance on people.

2. The National Guard is not limited by tactical intelligence

Part 1 of article 14 of the draft law foresees that intelligence activities may be conducted by intelligence bodies outside Ukraine and some in the territory of Ukraine. Intelligence bodies themselves will be able to involve intelligence units of the National Guard in such tasks. There are no restrictions on the fact that this is 100-meter-zone tactical military intelligence.

3. Intelligence units will be able to provide intelligence for all tasks of the National Guard

As for amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the National Guard”, intelligence units are added to the structure. And articles 12 and 13, which regulate rights and duties of the National Guard, include amendments adding new provisions both to the list of rights and to the list of duties – “within the scope of activities defined by the law for the purpose of intelligence support of the use of the National Guard of Ukraine and information and analytical activity”.

This wording does not even contain any reference to tasks received from the intelligence body of the Ministry of Defense. In fact, it means that intelligence units will be able to provide intelligence for all tasks of the National Guard. For instance, the National Guard now has the task to protect foreign embassies and international organizations. Securing the use of the National Guard here may mean implementation of agents to these embassies and organizations as well.

4. Intelligence without limits

The draft law does not specify what tactical intelligence is and does not explain any boundaries between military intelligence and other areas. All measures and methods of this work are regulated in detail by by-laws, which are secret as well. Therefore, in practice, it will be almost impossible to monitor and control it.

5. Excessive strengthening of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

This law enforcement body, according to the draft law, will now receive a lot of intelligence information, which will give it undue influence and will significantly strengthen it. Until now, the National Guard was not involved in intelligence tasks. They were conducted by units of the Armed Forces and intelligence of the Ministry of Defense.

Blogpost by Vitaliy Shabunin published on January 17, 2020, on Ukrainska Pravda

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