Poland: parliament votes to dissolve military intelligence service

Lawmakers voted 375-48 to abolish the Military Intelligence Services, Poland's only secret service unreformed since the fall of communism in 1989, and replace it with two new agencies, called the Military Intelligence Agency and the Military Counterintelligence Agency.

The socially conservative Law and Justice led government made disbanding the agency a key pillar to last fall's parliamentary election campaign, arguing that it was raft with post-communist corruption, maintained strong ties with Russian intelligence and had shady dealings with businessmen, the AP reports.

Its replacement agencies will employ both military personnel and civilians, and will fall under the control of the minister for secret services, not the Defense Ministry like their predecessor. New hires will go through a vetting process to ensure they did not cooperate with Soviet intelligence agencies during the Cold War or have ties with organized crime.

The bill next goes to the upper house of parliament, where it is expected to easily pass.

The old Military Intelligence Services would be officially disbanded Sept. 30, and the new agencies will start work Oct. 1.