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Polish Government Raids NATO Office To Replace Leadership

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Polish defense ministry officials and military police raided a NATO-affiliated facility last night to replace the current leadership and take control of the state-agency.

Personnel entered NATO’s Counter Intelligence Center of Excellence in the capital of Warsaw at 1:30 a.m. Friday. Deputy Defense Minister Bartosz Kownacki said it was a way of testing the current leadership at the facility and determine if they are “competent people.”

“This is about guaranteeing the normal functioning of state institutions, which unfortunately do not always function properly,” Kowanacki told RMF radio, according to The Financial Times. “Really is was difficult to determine whether there are actually competent people … the previous management.”

The head of the facility received a notice from the government last week saying he had been dismissed of his duties but decided to disregard it, according to a spokesman of the defense ministry. He further said the raid was justified and “peaceful.”

The Polish opposition stood by the former head of facility and denounced the measure.

“This is probably the first time in NATO’s history that an alliance member has attacked a NATO facility,” opposition MP Tomasz Siemoniak said according to The Financial Times.

NATO said the center is not technically a NATO body, which justifies the government’s right to replace the current leadership.

“This is an issue for the Polish authorities,” a NATO official said. “In general terms, Centers of Excellence are international research centers, which are nationally or multi-nationally funded and staffed, and work alongside the Alliance, but they are not NATO bodies.”

The raid is the latest move by the newly elected Law and Justice government to take control of all government agencies and replace officials with party loyalists. The Law and Justice party won its own majority in both chambers of the parliament in September, as well as the presidency back in May. (RELATED: Poland’s Parliament Has Literally Zero Liberals Now)

The party has a platform that centers around stopping immigration, leaving the European Union and building a strong defense.

The only legislative body preventing the party from ruling freely is the Supreme Court, where a majority of the judges oppose the party. Law and Justice tried to get around the problem by passing a law which would give them the right to block the previous government’s last-minute appointments of three judges. The move has caused a “constitutional crisis” in the country as they try to figure out who gets to serve on the court.

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