Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior in an interview for Panorama talk show on Bulgarian National Television /BNT/
Host: We will start with the news that hit the world media – “Reasonable assumption" that behind the bombing in Sarafovo stands the military wing of Hezbollah. I want to recall that this careful formulation created interesting effects around the world. Europol confirmed the findings of the Bulgarian investigation, the U.S. and Israel quite enthusiastically greeted it, but the Hezbollah firmly rejected it as well as Iran. It is not yet clear whether the EU will use the occasion to announce Hezbollah as terrorist organization. Now the author of the wording Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov will give his reasons for it. Hello.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov: Hello.
Host: Why did you announced it as it is only a guess?
Tsvetan Tsvetanov: After six months of investigation we have enough data through which we may really stick to the wording - grounded hypothesis for complicity of Hezbollah’s military wing and that was done after the sitting of the Consultative Council with the President in the presence of all the leaders of the parliamentary parties of the Bulgarian Parliament, the Chief Proseutor and all the services that are directly related to the security of the state. Now is the time to say and make a difference, in the first days after the terrorist attack there were counties that come out with a hypothesis for Hezbollah complicity in the act, we didn’t stick to that allegation, but since mid January we may confirm what I said during the sitting of the Consultative Council. We have data ...
Host: But, Mr. Tsvetanov, before that, in November you went to the USA and stayed there for three weeks, three weeks. Did they convince you there?
Tsvetan Tsvetanov: Do, they didn’t. My visit to the U.S., if you look back from 2009, when I became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, every year at this time of the year I’ve been paying working visits to the United States. And I can say that the main theme in my discussions with my visit to the United States, was the implementation of the agreement signed with Janet Nepolitano, the Secretary of U.S. Homeland Security, meetings I have had with the Attorney General, Mr. Houdar were to talk about anything related to Pianara with PNR which was already signed as an agreement between the EC and the U.S.. I talked with the FBI director to actually increase our capacity to combat cybercrime and about the cyber security, which should be in Bulgaria. You know, based on their analysis in 2010, we doubled the GDCOC (General Directorate Combating Organized Crime) unit that deals with this type of criminal activity. And I can also say that the conversations that I had with the director Sullivan from the Secret Service was related to the possibility they also to send their experts to work in the unit for cybercrime and cybersecurity unit, which is the greatest challenge today to all countries worldwide.
Host: Will you deny, however, pressure on Sarafovo case because there may have been pressure either to declare the version faster or not declare it?
Tsvetan Tsvetanov: I would like, however, to continue with the visit to the U.S. because the public is being speculated and manipulated in this direction. I can say that for the last 15 years the U.S. State Department has invested in Bulgarian law enforcement system with the necessary training and mostly of the middle management and operatives were able to go through law enforcement academies in the U.S., which we have built a good capacity and a good connection between the units as well as in Bulgaria, as well as with the U.S. on cross-border crime. I think this is a top priority of any government. As for pressure, it was very clearly stated that such pressure has not been exerted by any country. And I can say that there was a certain pressure. And it was seen even at the meeting of the Advisory Council with the President by the political parties in Bulgaria, which subsequently expressed their position that fundamentally differs both from the position of the Bulgarian government and also the support we received from Europe, the EU, Europol, the U.S., Israel, Canada and Australia, as in this investigation, if there were countries that could be affected in some way, these are Australia and Canada, because you know that the two suspects identified with their true identity they are citizens of Canada and Australia. In recent years they have lived in Lebanon. Movement of these citizens of Canada and Australia within the EU with their identities and passports, which are of the two countries and their entry in Bulgaria, happened that way. Withdrawal of the country is made in the same way with the same identification documents of Australia and Canada, while in Bulgaria they had stayed and registered, and had done their activities under false identities, with Michigan driver's licenses, which the expertise made by Europol found that they were made in Lebanon.