President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday promoted 15 men to the rank of general, but as expected declined to bestow the honour on Czech BIS counter-intelligence head Michal Koudelka, despite recommendations from the government.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) in October said that the Czech head of state had promised he would promote Koudelka. This marks the third time he has declined to do so.
President Zeman objects to charges made in the BIS annual report that spies from Russia and China are spreading disinformation in the Czech Republic with a view to influencing public opinion and engaging in economic espionage.
He has accused Koudelka and national cyber security bureau director Dušan Navrátil of putting the Czech Republic’s economic interests at “serious risk” by issuing “unfounded” warnings about Russian and Chinese influence.
In early March, Koudelka was presented with the CIA’s George Tenet award, which recognises international cooperation, at the US spy agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.