László Földi, “security expert” in the service of the Orbán government

This is not the first time that I’ve written about László Földi, one of the handful of national security “experts” who serve the Orbán government. In October 2015 I devoted about four paragraphs to his background and some of his strongly held beliefs about the world which, I believe, have mighty little to do with reality. The media, however, offers plenty of opportunity for this soft-spoken former intelligence officer from the secret service apparatus of the Kádár regime to spread his outlandish views, not just on the refugee question but also on Hungary’s security in general. In Földi’s view the world is full of spies, internal as well as foreign, who are trying to undermine the present government of the country.

Only recently I commented on those features of the first Orbán government (1998-2002) that show a suspicious resemblance to the present practices of Fidesz. One of these was the fattening up of enterprises run by people who in the past were useful players in Viktor Orbán’s power game. László Földi is one of these people.

With the help of Péter Boross, minister of interior in the Antall government, some high officials of Kádár’s intelligence team, including Földi, continued to work for the first democratically elected government. In the old regime he was in charge of intelligence against the United States, but he didn’t seem to have any difficulty adjusting to the new political environment, although his background indicates an attachment to Marxist-Leninist ideas. His father studied philosophy in the Soviet Union, and he himself was an enthusiastic KISZ member and later party secretary in the ministry of interior’s intelligence department. Despite this background, he seems to have developed a strong working relationship with the Fidesz leadership, and after 1994 he was most likely involved in intelligence gathering not against foreign foes but against some members of the Horn government. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the information gathering was for Fidesz’s benefit. At least the first Orbán government’s generous support for Földi’s fledgling security business called “Defend” during the 1998-2002 period would indicate that much.

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Today Földi, officially at least, has no connection with the government, but it is hard to imagine that he is not consulted by the present leaders of the intelligence and anti-terrorist community. Lately, he made several remarks that would point to a working relationship between him and TEK, the anti-terrorist center.

In the last few days a number of very critical articles have appeared about TEK’s amateurish activities, which are more or less restricted to commando operations instead of intelligence gathering. Of the 1,200 employees of TEK, only 120 are involved in intelligence work. We also know that their technological preparedness is woefully inadequate.

Reading some of Földi’s earlier pronouncements on intelligence gathering, he seemed to be of the school that considered technological gizmos of little use and that preferred old-fashioned personal spying. But now that Orbán announced that TEK will be equipped with the latest and the best equipment, Földi suddenly discovered the benefits of technology. In his most recent remarks he has been emphasizing the introduction of modern electronic equipment.

His ideas on the current refugee crisis are simple enough. Europe is at war and “Europe must be defended.” Angela Merkel is unfit for the job because she is a woman, and “no woman has ever won a war,” a comment that prompted guffawing in the media community over the ignorance of the former history major at Ho Chi Minh Teachers’ College in Eger. This simplistic view gets garbled when Földi tries to explain the nature of this war. For example, I find it difficult to decipher the following sentence: “ISIS was created by military leaders who because of NATO became unemployed and who haven’t given up the fight, only moved the military operations to Europe.” Any suggestions about its meaning?

With the passage of time Földi’s pronouncements have become more and more extreme. On March 1 on state television’s M1 he advocated an “order to shoot” because the simple sight of weaponry is not enough of a deterrent. One has to use the weapons. If the European leaders would admit that what’s going on is war, then “one could announce that the human traffickers are saboteurs who are attacking the defense of the hinterland.” So, you can shoot them on sight.

Or, here is Földi’s interpretation of the deficiencies of democracy. A few days ago he announced that there is something very wrong with Europe, especially in a war situation with ISIS where the rules of war as we know them are not applicable. Europe is at a severe disadvantage when “the criminal is not arrested as long as there is no proof. Moreover, they almost have as many rights as other people.” Elsewhere he insisted that all members of the families of the terrorists should immediately be evicted regardless of their involvement in any crime.

The refugees are not the only enemies Földi sees. He has been convinced for some time that domestic dissatisfaction is fueled by foreign enemies of the Orbán government. Already in November 2014 he was convinced that the impressive internet demonstration was not organized on Facebook by civic activists but that “it was a well-organized and well-financed operation.” He added that those “who for financial gain serve foreign interests” are traitors.

Földi’s latest is an op/ed piece in the March 23 issue of Magyar Idők, which is devoted to his theories about domestic spies at work in Hungary. The article is very confused, but it looks as if Földi discovered that recently Hungary was put on a list of countries that are important to certain interest groups. “The attacking army” works like people who are engaged in “business intelligence.” Since he immediately moves on to propaganda coming from Hollywood, I assume he sees the United States behind these civilian spies. What he considers spying is so broadly interpreted that, for example, the articles and comments that appear in Hungarian Spectrum could be considered to be civilian spying. After all, we gather information on the basis of which we draw certain conclusions, and that according to Földi is civilian espionage. The information thus obtained can then be used to apply political pressure. In Földi’s opinion, Hungary was put on this list because its government was capable of defending its own interests against the will of great powers. As a result “every (!) inhabitant of the country in the crosshairs becomes a victim.”

György Bolgár wanted to learn more about Földi’s “unique” vision of the world after Viktor Orbán’s successes against the “great powers.” Unfortunately, he didn’t have the opportunity to be enlightened by the national security expert. After he asked a few questions about Földi’s solution to the refugee crisis, Földi began to get agitated. When Földi insisted that Angela Merkel had sent agents to Turkey to invite the refugees to escape to Germany, Bolgár asked for proof. At this point he simply hung up the telephone. He is not accustomed to being challenged. Journalists in the government-friendly media listen admiringly to all the nonsense he spouts. And so Földi and some of the other experts continue to spread their disinformation. The ignorant public is misled by charlatans masquerading as experts.

March 28, 2016
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Guest

For those who are interested, Foldi hung up the phone at around 21:20 http://www.klubradio.hu/klubmp3/klub20160324-155854.mp3

Ndy -- Aghast
Guest

Aghast, as usual ! What else can I say ?!

Guest

A few years ago, my cousin here in Budapest rang up one morning and told me to be very careful, because there is a war going on! I looked out of my window and replied that, no, I did not see any tanks, or snipers nor any sign of a war, so I reassured my cousin that he was mistaken.

Bu his anxiety was nothing new as he was, sadly, a certified paranoid-schizophrenic, in and out of mental institutions.

Perhaps Földi should seek psychiatric suppport?

Kaktuszpapa
Guest

It is a very good analisys of a very simple man. I’m really sad, that he is not able to understand it, if he reads, because he was not able to learn any foreign language in his life. English included. Just a little correction. He was never working for the counter-espionage. Ha was always working as an intelligence officer. A lot of smoke with minimal fire.

Hohohorgász
Guest

There exists no emptier title than that of the “security” or”terrorism” “expert”.

It’s also true for the US media by the way.

Guest

For Foldi, the US is like a stick in his craw. Not a peep on Russian ‘sniffing around though. Apparently a relatively saintly state. Wouldn’t be surprised if he has a line direct to Moscow.

Istvan
Guest

Update on tomorrow’s actions on education: This Népszava article provides an update on tomorrow morning’s actions at schools http://nepszava.hu/cikk/1089605-ervek-es-kiskate-a-tiltakozo-tanaroknak it gives no updated information on the number of schools involved. This article http://mno.hu/belfold/ujra-akcioban-az-elegedetlen-pedagogusok-1335012 indicates the total number of schools to have actions as of today are 140 nationally. The tanitanek movement has stopped putting out PR updates on Facebook and the website on the projected number of schools that will be involved in tomorrow’s actions. Some university students will be carrying out solidarity actions around Hungary and some street protests are also planned.

Member

“Földi’s latest is an op/ed piece in the March 23 issue of Magyar Idők […] propaganda coming from Hollywood”
TRUE! His name is Andy Vajna.

Member

Somehow OT: For the April 1st antiterrorist Parliamentary coordination meeting that Sandor Pinter called for, there is a very interesting suggestion what the “security package” should contain. The father of the brainchild idea, not surprisingly a Fidesz star, Gergely Gulyas. Gulyas is a “Hungarian jurist, politician, member of the Fidesz and has been member of the National Assembly since 2010.” His fantastic idea is to outlaw all communication devices where authorities could not exercise their legal rights to access all data”. In simple terms, they want to outlaw the usage of most smartphones. (Recent issue in the USA with the iphone and the FBI rings a bell?)

Istvan
Guest
Member

I think we are all aware of that. I doubt that the Hungarian TEK has the same technology at their disposal as the FBI. 😉

Istvan
Guest

It was a private firm that broke in under contract with the FBI according to the media.

spectator
Guest

And then there are quite a number of applications providing peer-to-peer encrypted communication on those hard to break smartphones, just to make things a bit more challenging.
Not to mention the numerous available ‘solutions’ on the internet, when one really want to communicate in private..!

The only hope that the secret services can expect for a breakthrough — any service, forthat matter — if the opposition get careless or infiltrated to the core. There is hardly any case deserve to mention when serious attack having been prevented only because of the high-tech surveillance alone.

At the same time it would work perfectly in order to keep the Hungarian citizenry under the unlimited control of their rulers.

Despotism in the making, ladies and gentlemen. Orbán and his henchmen ‘must have’ unconditional access to every kind of information from everyone — including the bank accounts! — “otherwise the terrorists win!”

PATRIOT ACT, anyone?

spectator
Guest

Update:

“There is no plans to restrict or limit ownership and/or usage of smartphones…. the restriction will apply only to the apps allowing encryption/encrypted communication.”

— or thereabout — said Gergely Gulyás in his press conference yesterday.

No, not in North Korea..!

spectator
Guest
Member

One of the recent TEK-gags on Hungarian FB: a tek vizsgalja, hogy a tutalibe-malibe talib-e? Please don’t ask to translate… -:) Sorry for that but I could not resist.

Istvan
Guest

Update on schools action for tomorrow: Reports are now coming out that 250 schools will be participating in the action tomorrow around Hungary ( see http://nol.hu/belfold/szerdan-ketszazotven-iskolaban-lazadnak-a-tanarok-1608555 ). Roughly half of the schools supporting are in Budapest according to one report I just read. If one goes to the official website of the movement currently 148 school sites are listed, of which 66 are in Budapest ( see https://batchgeo.com/map/d3b514c6502557d320741acb99974530 ). So if the movement does get the support of 250 schools that would be close to about 11.5% of the KLIK controlled schools in the country.

Istvan
Guest

Meanwhile Klik which is under attack by the education reform movement and even now being looked at critically by the Fidesz government apparently got caught by the EU in a scheme of overcharging for the renovations of science classrooms around Hungary. The European Commission is blocking the transfer of some HUF 40 billion (USD 142.6 million) in EU grants relating to the renovation of educational facilities because of the scheme. (see http://index.hu/belfold/2016/03/28/a_tanteremfelujitasi_mutyi_miatt_tart_vissza_40_milliardot_az_eu/ )

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