Bulgaria’s president fires head of national security agency

Acting on the recommendation of the caretaker government that he appointed, Bulgarian President Roumen Radev fired Dimitar Georgiev as the head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS), according to a statement on the presidency’s website on the evening of May 26.

Radev appointed Plamen Tonchev, a senior SANS official, to take over heading the agency, the statement said.

The move by Radev, a bitter opponent of the former Borissov government, came as the caretaker government that he has appointed and which took office on May 12, seeks to de-install those whom they see as close to Borissov from positions of power.

Georgiev told the media that Radev’s appointee as Interior Minister, Boiko Rashkov, had been previously denied access to classified information for three years.

Georgiev, who has been under fire from Rashkov, said that Rashkov had two years ago been deprived from access to classified information and had not appealed against the ruling.

The now-former head of SANS linked the affair to Bulgaria’s exposure of Russian espionage agents, insisting – against the allegations against him – that he had not breached any rules nor damaged the prestige of the agency.

Referring to a controversy that has exercised politicians opposed to Borissov for some days, Georgiev denied that there had been illicit eavesdropping of anti-Borissov politicians around the time of Bulgaria’s April elections.

Borissov described the dismissal of Georgiev as revenge for security services’ exposure of Russian espionage in Bulgaria.

Borissov, speaking as the caretaker government recommended that Georgiev be fired, said that with this move, no further Russian spies would be exposed in Bulgaria.

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