As predicted, the transcripts of Janša’s confabulation with Sanader are about to surface. But according to this report by RTV SLO’s website (a state television!), which quotes POP TV (the competition!) it was actually the German intelligence service BND which eavesdropped on Janša and Sanader and then told Slovene intelligence SOVA what it stumbled upon, and it was that which SOVA’s then-director (the top spy) Iztok Podbregar reported to the then-PM Tone Rop.
Protection from what? Zee Germans?!? (a clip from Snatch)
Now, why is this important?
1.) Because Podbregar is finally due to testify before the parliamentary Committee for Inteligence Services Oversight, where he is largely expected to confirm what BND has apparently publicly confirmed. This is a very safe position for Podbregar, because the topic of his testimony is now a matter of public record and he will not be furhter endangering the already strained relations between SOVA and BND which were cooperating closely in hunting down Radovan Karadžić.
2.) Beacuse it gives more credibility to statements of former PM Tone Rop, who maintained that transcripts of the conversation(s) between Janša and Sanader did exist, even if they were removed from SOVA’s files. You can always count on the Germans to keep a file on everything.
3.) Because it signals a shift in Slovene-German relations. If the reports are correct then you can be sure that the BND did’t leak this information on its own, but got clearance from someone very high in the German administration. And that should set off Janša‘s klaxons. Not having Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s good ear in a period just prior to Slovenia’s EU presidency spells grief in three month’s time, this in turn meaning that something must have gone completely wrong in relaltionship between Ljubljana and Berlin, especially since both Janša and Merkel belong to the same European People’s Party.
4.) Given the above, one starts to wonder about stories that the PM is in serious talks about selling Slovenske Železnice (Slovene train operator) to German DeutscheBahn and about selling Telekom Slovenije (Slovene near-monopoly fixed-telephony operator) to Deutsche Telekom. Have the talks already collapsed and is this a form of German revenge or just a sort of “peer-pressure”, as in “I-know-what-you-did-last-summer-and-am-gonna-blow-the-whistle-if-I-don’t-get-a-good-deal“?
5.) The fact that state-television website reports a story which was broken by the competition and does nothing to protect the Ultimate Boss could mean (notice the conditional, please) that this government is fast losing its grip on things and cannot even control its own media. Given that media-control is Janša’s speciallity this could mean that he’s in more trouble than originally thought.
And, last but not least:
6.) The Germans are careful as to not make anything official. Both Slovene televisions quote dr. Udo Ulfkotte as saying that BND is in possesion of the transcripts and so should be SOVA, implying that they were removed by Janša’s government, since the latter claims that no such documents exist.
Now, dr. Ulfkotte is not a government official, but apparently an outside advisor to the German government on intelligence matters, which automatically means that any and all statements are his own and are not official Berlin positions. Meaning that this is Angela Merkel is sending a strong but totally deniable message to Janša, hoping he’ll understand it and make the “right” choice: sell two thirds of Slovene infrastructure to German companies. If not, she’ll crush him to solar dust.
Funny thing is, that this may very well be enough to deliver a very strong blow to Janša’s credibility, making him a lame-duck PM, especially if the opposition maintains the self-discipline not to start impeaching him, but letting him cook in his own sauce of espionage scandals, economic fuck-ups and hoping for a screw-up or two during the EU presidency which will have to be solved by the big boys (and a girl).