06 Apr 2018

Israeli intelligence agency tried to discredit NGOs

A private intelligence agency with links to Israel tried to entrap members of Hungarian NGOs to provide self-incriminating information. It’s not clear who commissioned the operations, but the government benefited from it.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Israeli intelligence agency tried to discredit NGOs - NewsMavens
Defense Intelligence Agency centre, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

The victims are all on the Hungarian government's “blacklist”, mainly for helping refugees. Authorities in the ruling Fidesz party have referred to them as part of the “network" run by liberal Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.

Recordings of the interrogations were leaked to the pro-government daily newspaper, Magyar Idok, which published extracts that were taken out of context to put the NGOs in a bad light

It's unlikely that authorities in Hungary -- where the ruling Fidesz will most probably win Sunday’s election --  will thoroughly investigate the issue. If they did, they would find the darkest and dirtiest tactics used in the Communist era.

In this murky story, one thing is crystal clear: civil society and critical voices are in danger.

illiberalism,politics

Details from the story:

  • A few months ago, members of several NGOs in Hungary received strange e-mails by people claiming to be foreign businessmen who invited them to discuss a possible cooperative initiative.
  • Those who went to the meeting were confronted with questions about the Hungarian government and George Soros.
  • According to the investigation by Index.hu, the operations were conducted by a private intelligence agency with links to Mosad. Its employees used fake businesses, fake names and fake websites to trick the NGO members.
  • The leaked extracts of the conversations not only appeared in Magyar Idok but also in the Jerusalem Post.
  • MigrationAid president Andras Siewert suspected the meeting would be a trap, so he recorded everything and warned the Constitution Protection Office, a state intelligence agency that deals with possible foreign intelligence intrusions.
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