Final Word from Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If the allegations against ex-Defense Minister Martin Barták by the American officials at Tatra truck maker are true, what does it say about the vetting process in the Czech Republic and Nato? When Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek hired Barták earlier this year as his deputy in charge of auditing EU funding and combatting money laundering, he said he trusts Barták's security clearance more than he does the persistent rumors about any crooked defense deals. Barták himself argued last year that his NBÚ and Nato secret-level clearances are proof of his impeccable character. It's convenient that his NBÚ clearance was awarded when the office was run by Jan Mareš, whom Barták later employed at the defense ministry. This might explain his Czech clearance, but what about Nato? Wouldn't it do something if Barták were bent? Tellingly, there are well-placed rumors that the Americans have tapes of Barták's incriminating and boastful conversations while on U.S. soil but will only use them if absolutely necessary.[Národní bezpečnostní úřad national security office]

Glossary of difficult words

solid - upstanding and dependable; reliable;

to vet - to screen; to investigate someone thoroughly, esp. in order to ensure that the person is suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty or trustworthiness;

persistent - continuing to exist or endure over a prolonged period;

impeccable - in accordance with the highest standards of propriety;

bent - dishonest, crooked;

tellingly - having force and producing a striking effect; revealing previously unknown information.


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