(MTI) – Until the issue of NSA spying is cleared up in Washington, Hungary-US relations could be impacted, the state secretary heading the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.
Janos Lazar told the press after a meeting of a parliamentary committee set up to investigate the Hungarian aspects of the scandal, that it was “obvious” the NSA had gathered information on Hungary. Regardless of who wins the parliamentary election in April, internal security will need to be significantly increased, especially the security of electronic information. Lazar said the incoming US ambassador will also be expected to appear before the committee.
At Thursday’s meeting Lazar discussed the diplomatic aspects of the scandal with Interior Minister Sandor Pinter and Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, and informed lawmakers about the actions taken in connection with this issue by the Constitution Protection Office and the intelligence services. The minutes taken at the closed meeting have been classified by Pinter. He told the press after the meeting that regular contacts have been maintained with the FBI and the CIA about the matter.
Martonyi said Hungary was still waiting for information from the US concerning what actions had been taken and would continue to monitor US events. Hungary hopes that with extra efforts trust can be restored “between allies and friends,” Martonyi said. Special attention must be paid to the human rights aspects of the case, he added. “It is very important that Hungarian citizens should not be exposed to mass surveillance and monitoring because this violates their individual human rights,” he said.
The names of persons targeted in the US spying scandal are classified state secret, the head of the committee Mate Kocsis, of the ruling Fidesz party, told the press after Thursday’s meeting. He and deputy Gergely Gulyas, also of Fidesz, declined to reveal how many persons were affected. He added that it would be necessary to develop Hungary’s security system in the upcoming period, including technical and staff aspects.