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hvg.hu

Hvg.hu has published a list of state security officials and agents who were active members and leaders of county offices in the Interior Ministry’s III/III department – the bureau of the Communist regime’s secret agents – in 1989.

At that time, the state security bureau was operated by officers of the national police and were paid by the Communist state. These officers managed the network of secret agents, collected and analyzed information, coordinated the work of different groups of the state security system, carried out secret operations, and performed many other duties directly serving the orders of the Communist regime’s political leaders.

The size of staff employed by the bureau can be estimated only. According to a report by historian János Kenedi, 3,975 people worked in the No. III. division of the Interior Ministry on Jan. 1, 1971. Out of that, 242 served the infamous III/III department, which was set up to monitor and suppress enemies of the Communist regime. It is estimated that a similar size of staff was operated prior to the change of system in 1989. The list of officers obtained by hvg.hu includes names of 206 officers and chief officers and 32 civil employees, mostly drivers, typists and building guards.

Hvg.hu has published the full list of officers serving in the central office of the III/III. department and the names of leaders of III/III. county offices that worked closely with local police. Hvg.hu has a number of reasons to publish its list of secret agents. The practical reasoning says that most of the names, ranks and positions of secret agents have been published in various historic research on the past of state security offices. Such widespread publication of many of the names can be found in Gábor Kiszely’s book titled “State security 1956-1990”, which has been published in several editions in past years.

From a data protection point of view, hvg.hu has found no objections to publish the list it obtained. The principle of the law on protection of personal data says that names, ranks and positions of people working in state, municipal and other public-sphere offices constitute public information that can be available to any citizen. After all, the III/III. department was one of such state offices. Furthermore, according to a 1994 decision of the Constitutional Court, data on the III/III. department cannot be withheld on national security reasons.

The list subsequently published by hvg.hu originates in 1989, most likely from the second half of that year. Hvg.hu has published names and ranks of officers and chief officers only, and has not published low ranking employees and other, civilian staff members. The list also includes the leaders of III/III. county offices that worked closely with local police.

Historians Gábor Kiszely and László Varga have found hvg.hu’s list authentic and reliable. In political TV program “Este” Kiszely said 80% of Communist secret agents were not pressurized to do their job and the remaining 20% were ready to cooperate with the Communist regime in hope of financial rewards.

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