Swiss Attorney General To Beef Up Counterintelligence

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) According to Attorney General Stefan Blättler, defence against espionage should be given greater importance in Switzerland in the future. Recent investigations related to a suspected Russian agent are not an isolated case, Blättler said on Wednesday.

This content was published on June 19, 2024 - 10:06 3 minutes Keystone-SDA
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In an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, Blättler said that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) wanted to send a signal by communicating more openly about the investigations against the suspected agent.“You can't just walk all over us,” he said, deliberately somewhat boldly.

Swiss security authorities stopped a suspected Russian agent weeks before the Ukraine conference. Tamedia newspapers first reported on the case. According to the reports, the agent had contacts with whom he attempted to procure weapons and dangerous substances at several locations in Switzerland.

However, there were no indications of any assassination plans in Switzerland, as the OAG said on Tuesday in response to an enquiry from the Keystone-SDA news agency.

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Representing Western values

Blättler justified the cautious communication in the interview on Wednesday by saying that offences against state security involve certain interests which differentiate them from other offences.“If we don't say anything, that doesn't mean we don't do anything,” he told the NZZ.“Criminal prosecution is an important element of the process for security in Switzerland.”

Switzerland is ideologically and intellectually anchored in the Western world and is committed to Western values, said Blättler.“If these values are attacked, then this must also have consequences under criminal law,” he added.

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Threat remains high

The threat to Switzerland from foreign espionage, particularly from Russia and China, remains high, a spokeswoman for the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) told Keystone-SDA in response to an enquiry, confirming Tamedia's report.

Currently, the greatest threat comes from Russian intelligence services. Russia has allegedly deployed the largest number of intelligence service employees under diplomatic cover in Switzerland in Europe. According to the FIS, one reason for this is that many international organisations are based in Switzerland.

Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/dos

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