Legal Basis

The State Intelligence Agency (SIA) was established with the State Intelligence Agency Act, passed by the XLIII National Assembly on October 1, 2015, promulgated SG No. 79/13.10.2015, in effect as of 01.11.2015.
This law is the first legal framework of the civilian intelligence in Bulgarian history. The Act regulates clearly the relations between the Agency and the supreme state authorities and lays the foundation for its functions to be harmonized with those of the other institutions and administrations part of the national security system.
The law governs the structure, operation and functioning of the State Intelligence Agency, and the status of its employees. The main functions and activities, as well as the organization, means and methods for their execution, have been laid out.  
The State Intelligence Agency Act came into force simultaneously with the Act on the Management and Functioning of the System of National Security Protection, promulgated, SG No. 61/11.08.2015, and the relation between the two laws should be treated as between a special law and a general law respectively. The Act on the Management and Functioning of the System of National Security Protection introduces the terms national security and system of national security protection. This general law defines the role of the institutions and structures part of the system of national security protection and introduces a requirement that they coordinate their activities and cooperate. This law constitutes the Security Council as an advisory and coordinating body under the Council of Ministers on matters of national security.
The Act on the Management and Functioning of the System of National Security Protection lays the foundation of accountability and control of the activities of the institutions and structures part of the system of national security protection. The Act subjects the institutions and structures part of the system to parliamentary, administrative, judicial and civil control.
In accordance with rules and regulations, part of a number of different laws, the State Intelligence Agency and its Chairperson have been granted special powers.

  • The State Intelligence Agency Act

    The State Intelligence Agency Act governs the structure, operation and functioning of the State Intelligence Agency, and the status of its employees. The main functions and activities, as well as the organization, means and methods for their execution, have been laid out. The law defines the institutional place of the Agency in the executive branch of government – SIA is directly subordinated to the Council of Ministers and participates in the work of the intelligence communities of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Under the law, the Agency is required to supply intelligence information to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Prime Minister and the Members of Cabinet. The Agency must supply intelligence reports identical in volume and content to the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister. There is a provision stipulating that the Council of Ministers may designate other state institutions as recipients of intelligence information. The Agency is headed by a Chairperson appointed by a decree of the President of the Republic, subject to a proposal by the Council of Ministers, for a term of 5 years. The Chairperson is assisted by Deputy Chairs appointed by decision of the Council of Ministers for a term of 5 years subject to a proposal by the Chairperson.The Prime Minister must appoint an Inspector, subject to a proposal by the Chairperson of the Agency, who has supervisory functions with respect to the implementation of the state policy in SIA. The appointment of the Inspector as Agency staff member by the Prime Minister is an expression of the desire to provide a more independent control over the implementation of the rule of law. The Inspector’s independence is of crucial importance when implementing control on the terms and procedure for expending special funds and their accountability. The Agency has the authority to process personal data. In processing personal data pertinent to the work of the Agency no consent is required from the individual nor is he/she informed that his/her personal data are being processed, and also no personal data are made available to third parties. The Agency generates and maintains its own archive and special filing department for the storage of files, reports and data about foreign nationals.
    In the Act, there are certain restrictive provisions with respect to the right of access under the Personal Data Protection Act and the Law on Access to Public Information. The Agency does not supply data about its officers, cooperating individuals, or any intelligence gathering operations of the Agency. The Agency may deny information about its undercover agents or members of the public who cooperate or have cooperated with it, to ensure the protection of their interests, the methods and means of intelligence gathering.
    Under the Act, the personnel of the State Intelligence Agency consists of civil servants or persons hired on an employment contract. The civil servants under the State Intelligence Agency Act are a particular type of state employees and apart from the traditional rights and obligations under the Civil Servant Act, they have additional specific rights and obligations.

  • The Rules and Regulations on the Implementation of the State Intelligence Agency Act

    The Rules and Regulations on the Implementation of the State Intelligence Agency Act, approved with Decree No 66 of the Council of Ministers dated 28.03.2016 (promulgated SG No. 27/05.04.2016, in effect as of 05.04.2016), offer a broader legal framework on matters about which there is legal referral.
    The Rules and Regulations stipulate that – apart from the instances laid down in the State Intelligence Agency Act – recipients of intelligence information may also be the heads of security services and public order services, as well as heads of agencies and institutions, in accordance with their remit in relation to national security.
    The Rules and Regulations provide information about the documents necessary when applying for a position within the Agency, as well as the procedures for the emergence, modification or termination of employment arrangements of civil service. The Rules and Regulations stipulate that each candidate’s suitability for civil service within the Agency is established via medical examination. If a candidate applies for a position which requires access to classified information, they must undergo a background vetting that establishes their reliability in accordance with the Protection of Classified Information Act. Psychological suitability of candidates for a position within the Agency is determined by expert psychologists during the mandatory psychological evaluation.
    The Rules and Regulations stipulate that each of the four ranks of intelligence agents and two ranks of associates, as laid down in the SIA Act, have four degrees, which will create opportunities for steady career development. There are also texts regulating the transition to a higher/lower rank, degree and office.
    The Rules and Regulations also provide a legal basis for the biannual and annual attestation of all Agency personnel, which contain general assessment and particular evaluation ranging from 1 to 5 based on complex criteria. There is a provision granting the right to appeal the attestation.
    This legal document also regulates the legal basis of the undercover service of the personnel.