Bulgaria’s Government decided to increase the ceiling on spending commitments by the State Agency for Technical Operations, the sole government entity allowed to carry out wire-tapping or use other special surveillance means, by 3.1 million leva.
The Government’s media service did not stipulate the new spending ceiling, but the 2018 Budget Act allows the agency to make spending commitments of up to 7.34 million leva in 2018. Its total budget for this year, including ongoing operations, is 48.45 million leva.
“Planning, forecasting and carrying out spending commitments and the new spending obligations reflect the specific activities of the agency in carrying out its duties under the Special Surveillance Means Act, resulting from the rapidly changing operative environment and the rapidly developing communication technologies,” the government statement said.
“This requires the allocation of significant resources for innovation, focusing on increasing the technological and technical capacity of the agency to execute its legally mandated tasks,” the statement said.
The State Agency for Technical Operations was set up in 2013 as a separate agency subordinated to the Cabinet by transforming the specialised operative and technical operations directorate of the Interior Ministry, in the wake of the controversy caused by anonymous claims of wide-spread illegal wire-tapping.
(Bulgaria’s Cabinet building. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)