Countering the activities of foreign intelligence services is one of the tasks of every country when it comes to preservation of national interests and maintaining the capability for efficient making of decisions and their implementation.
SOA investigates and monitors intelligence activities of foreign services and their sources that might harm Croatia's interests both at home and abroad.
Croatia can be a target of intelligence interest of certain foreign countries due to political or economic reasons. Moreover, NATO and EU member status is an additional reason why Croatia might be the target of interest of certain countries that consider the mentioned organizations as their threat or an opponent. As a rule, the intelligence interest of foreign countries is long-term and systematic.
Foreign intelligence activity in Croatia and the resulting counterintelligence efforts of Croatian services were most intensive during the Homeland War, but are still present today.
One example of foreign intelligence activity in Croatia might be an attempt to obtain classified data which might endanger our national interests, for instance in areas such as the economy or international negotiations in which Croatia is involved. Foreign intelligence services might also attempt to influence the Croatian public by spreading dis(information) that serves their purposes.
Officers/agents of foreign intelligence services usually work undercover by presenting themselves as diplomats, scientists, journalists or businessmen.
In their work, foreign intelligence officers often use Croatian citizens in order to gain access to classified data or influence decision-making in state bodies but also in state and private companies. Foreign agents primarily strive to approach persons who have direct access to classified data or might influence the decision-making process or public opinion. The Croatian Penal Code defines the criminal act of espionage and stipulates appropriate legal sanctions for persons who commit such an act.
Along with this “traditional” intelligence work, espionage accompanied by the use of modern technologies, especially in cyber space, is becoming increasingly important.
Combating such foreign intelligence activities is significant for preserving Croatia's ability to make independent decisions in the political, financial and economic spheres. The consequences of foreign intelligence activity might be economic loss, increased costs or dependency of the country, inability to make independent political decisions, and even threat to the physical security of Croatian citizens.
We continuously work on the prevention and countering of foreign intelligence activity. These efforts include counterintelligence work, security vetting, constant protection of classified data, raising counterintelligence awareness with Croatian citizens who have access to such data, providing advice to other state bodies regarding information security etc.