- 6 Apr 2018 8:02 AM
- The Budapest Beacon
Recordings and other materials generated by the company are reportedly being used by pro-government Magyar Idők to discredit government critics in the run-up to Sunday’s general election.
The operations were carried out in Vienna, Amsterdam, and New York.
Those carrying out the operation set up fake companies and aliases.
One of the individuals targeted reported the encounter to Hungary’s domestic intelligence agency, the Constitutional Protection Office, which, in turn, documented the citizen’s encounter.
While it is not known who engaged the Israeli company (companies such as Black Cube make it possible for the private sector to engage former Israeli intelligence officers), the operation is reportedly targeting civil society organizations singled out by the Hungarian government, including Migration Aid, the Open Society Foundations, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, and the Civil Liberties Union for Europe.
According to the report, the operatives orchestrated encounters with members of civil society for the purpose of obtaining recordings in an attempt to discredit them.
In at least one case, one of the targets found the encounter so suspicious that he reported it to the Constitutional Protection Office (AH). Playing along with the operation, the individual met with the operatives of the private intelligence company, recorded their conversations, and even took pictures of them.
Relations between Hungary and Israel under Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu have been cozy despite the rise of political anti-semitism in Hungary under the second and third Orbán governments.
The two heads of government share a strong dislike of NGOs funded in part by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and actively work to undermine civil organizations devoted to good governance, transparency, and opposed to corruption.
A boycott of the national security committee proceedings by Fidesz-KDNP MPs has prevented it from making quorum for several months. This, in turn, has prevented committee members from investigating alleged national security threats or nefarious dealings of this kind.