It took only a little over two weeks for the great state secret to be out in the open. It seems that the correct information reached the public early enough. Hírszerző, an on-line newspaper, first reported on the case a couple of days after the arrest of Lajos Galambos, chief of the National Security Office (NBH) until 2007, György Szilvássy, minister in charge of security matters, and Sándor Laborc, Galambos's successor. The paper said that at least three members of the parliamentary committee on national security chaired by Ágnes Vadai (MSZP) had talked to its reporter and that one of them talked about a "Russian connection." I wrote about the case on July 5. In that article I also mentioned something that was a real headache for the directors of NBH. Top secret information concerning national security matters was leaked right and left, and it ended up in the hands of the top Fidesz leaders. From there the information was passed on to Magyar Nemzet and HírTV.
It was this illegal flow of information that bothered the directors of NBH as well as György Szilvássy, the minister. I recall a television interview with Szilvássy in which he stated that either Laborc or Galambos, by now I don't remember which one, asked him whether he could suggest a firm familiar with filtering out informers. Szilvássy apparently didn't know one but promised to inquire. And this is where our story begins–with the hiring of Zömök Kft.
In the last two weeks all sorts of stories have circulated, but the most likely candidate for a charge of espionage is the one that is focused on the firm that was hired to find Fidesz informers within NBH. This supposition of mine is supported by Ágnes Vadai who asked the chief prosecutor, Péter Polt, to investigate whether anyone violated the law on state secrets after the arrest of the three men. After she announced her decision to act on the matter, she couldn't talk about the case openly but hinted that she had become suspicious on the basis of articles written in right-wing publications.
The best candidate for the article that aroused Vadai's suspicion is the one that appeared in Heti Válasz, a weekly with an on-line edition, on July 13. The title is telling: "Szilvássy and his friends wanted to prevent 'Fidesz danger' at NBH." According to Heti Válasz the company that was suggested to Szilvássy "has Russian and Ukrainian connections." HírTV "learned" that Zömök Kft. is a family business run by the elder and younger László Püski. Püski senior, as so many others of his generation, studied in the Soviet Union and married a Russian girl, the younger László's mother. In addition, there is a co-owner of the firm, Mrs. Rezső Varga, "who is also Russian speaking."
Heti Válasz's informers seemed to know that the older Püski was a close friend of Lajos Galambos. Heti Válasz checked out this information by visiting iWiW, a kind of Hungarian Facebook, where they found that the members of the two families indicated that they knew and liked each other.
That is bad enough–says the paper–but what is "a real scandal" is that Galambos asked Zömök Kft. to find those people within NBH who were responsible for leaking information to Fidesz. The job was to conduct polygraph tests among the employees. Heti Válasz naturally is convinced that no one was passing out information to Fidesz. It was no more than paranoia on the part of the socialists who were certain that the opposition was better informed on security matters than the government itself. According to the paper, Szilvássy was pushing for a thorough investigation of the staff.
Thus, the whole espionage affair is based on the assumption that Zömök Kft., after conducting polygraph tests, passed "the profiles" on to the Russians because of the family connection. Although one might question the decision to hire an outside firm for the job, people who are familiar with the workings of national security proceedings claim that most likely Zömök Kft. had national security clearance.
If Heti Válasz's information is corrrect, it's no wonder that Ágnes Vadai, after her committee was informed of the details, called the whole thing "ridiculous." First of all, giving a polygraph test is not espionage. It might be illegal without the consent of the subject, but we don't know anything about such details.
To make such a serious charge as espionage, which might have international consequences, one must have hard evidence. A Russian mother and a father who studied in Kiev to become an aviation engineer is simply not enough.
However, László Kövér, second only to Viktor Orbán, has already rendered his verdict. On Sunday in a HírTV program called Kontraszt he announced that the decision to hire an outside firm at NBH by itself constituted "in the moral sense high treason." Of course, there is no such thing as high treason in a moral sense, and therefore the best thing is to treat this statement as a typical irresponsible political declaration that has nothing to do with the law.
I'm almost certain that the information Heti Válasz and HírTV received is more or less accurate. Whether the charge of the two Püskis passing on information to the Russians and the Ukranians will hold up, we will see. At the moment the prosecutors don't seem to have any hard evidence. And if this case turns out to be a fabrication of the government the consequences might be very serious.