An Austrian colonel who worked for Russian Intelligence was exposed by German counterintelligence that handed over the information to the colleagues in Austria, reported Profil magazine.
Earlier, Austrian authorities said that the information on the Russian spy was handed over to Vienna by a “friendly intelligence agency.” According to Profil, the Austrians were referring to the German Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD).
The magazine is currently investigating where the retired colonel works. He apparently was sending the information to Russians not from Salzburg, as the media reported earlier, but from the Central apparatus of the Austrian Defense Ministry in Vienna. Although he was the head of one of structural subdivisions, the colonel did not hold a high position.
Key posts in the central apparatus of the Austrian Defense ministry are held by generals. The colonel did not work with classified information, but communication systems, registers and phone lists were available to him.
“Although he could not reveal any significant military secrets because his position in the Defense Ministry wasn’t high enough, his work was pretty sensitive,” Profil writes. The colonel could have been handing over information on peculiarities of behavior of Austrian high-ranking military officials to the Russian military, information that could be successfully used during negotiations.
The Austrian broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk stated that the retired colonel provided data on the NATO to Moscow. For this purpose, he attended seminars organized by NATO for the Austrian military, collected information from these seminars and sent it along to his supervisors.
The spy scandal involving the Austrian ex-colonel broke out on November 9. The accused had worked in the Austrian Army Command for over twenty years. The 70-year-old colonel, as reported by Krone Zeitung, worked at his “unnoticeable post” in the Austrian army while providing Moscow with Army secrets. The newspaper also stated that the Russian agent worked his way up to the colonel post and received €300,000 for his work for Russians.
Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl canceled her trip to Russia that was scheduled for early December after the reports about the Russian involvement in espionage appeared. The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, summoned the Austrian Ambassador.