Russian-Ukrainian war

Pentagon documents: Hungarian intelligence report confirms our reporting

The Hungarian intelligence service has assessed the information contained by the leaked Pentagon documents (“War Leaks”) on Hungary as credible – comfirming the information previously reported by Átlátszó. The report refutes claims of the US wiretapping Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and confirms that Croatia may be transferring military helicopters to Ukraine through Hungarian airspace.

The National Information Centre (NIK), the super intelligence service overseen by Antal Rogán’s ministry, shared a report on 19 April on what was in the newly leaked US intelligence documents about Hungary. The report was presented in a closed session of the Parliament’s national security committee, but it was recently released at the initiative of an opposition MP and made available on the Parliament’s website.

Orbán probably wasn’t bugged by the CIA

The NIK report contains pages from the collection of US intelligence document which were leaked on the internet by a 21-year-old Air Force reservist officer named Jack Teixeira. Early investigations revealed that in April, Teixeira shared CIA and DIA intelligence reports in a closed forum, from where they were leaked to Discord servers and social media.

When Átlátszó covered the events, many of the original documents were available on the Internet, mainly on Chinese and Korean sites. Most of the publicly available documents dealt with the war in Ukraine and the European allies, which is how Hungary came into the picture.

In April, a section of the Hungarian press – citing second-hand information – presented as fact that the leaked documents revealed that the US was eavesdropping on Hungarian leaders, including Viktor Orbán. However, as we pointed out in our reporting, there is nothing in the leaked material to suggest such direct surveillance.

One of the documents quoted Orbán’s speech on 22 February at a Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group meeting in Balatonfüred, in which he called the US “one of his three main adversaries”.

As the speech was delivered in private, several journalists speculated that the CIA had bugged the meeting. The NIK report, on the other hand, says that the information is based on press reports and that “no interception of the Hungarian government took place.”

This is in line with what we reported in April. According to the original document, the information was given to the CIA by the embassy in Budapest, and it is unlikely that the embassy would have carried out wiretapping on its own authority, but it is likely that the US embassy staff read the Hungarian press, such as Magyar Nemzet. Indeed, in February, a pro-Fidesz newspaper published a report on the Balatonfüred parliamentary group meeting, which included an anti-American sentence from Orbán.

The information in the leaked documents also came from a public government or media source that Hungary is fulfilling its allied tasks as part of NATO’s Southeast Battalion Battle Group.

Helicopters were planned to be transported through Hungarian airspace

NIK also described the report on the helicopter case as credible. In mid-April, citing the leaked documents, Politico reported that while the Hungarian government is engaging in pro-Russian, anti-Western rhetoric about the war in Ukraine, it is allowing allied states to use Hungarian airspace to transport weapons to Ukraine. One of the documents cited by Politico outlines a plan for Ukrainian pilots to transport military helicopters donated by Croatia to Ukraine through Hungarian airspace.

The US document, shared by NIK, says: “The Croatian Armed Forces plan to deliver 14 Mi-8 HP helicopters to Ukraine in March this year, 7 of which are already ready for deployment. The Ukrainian pilots plan to transport the helicopters through Hungarian airspace”.

In this context, the NIK letter notes that the statement in the document does not cover the press reading that “Hungary does support direct arms deliveries to Ukraine.” As for the comment about helicopters, it says it is only about the Ukrainian pilots’ plans, not about the Hungarian side’s intentions. The published report does not say whether the helicopters have been delivered and, if so, on what route.

Dishonest communication on arms shipments to Ukraine

The question arises, however, that if the Hungarian military or political leadership has not allowed any Ukrainian arms shipments to pass through its airspace, why would Ukrainian pilots have even considered using Hungarian airspace in February, a year after the outbreak of the war?

In fact, as Átlátszó has repeatedly reported, military supplies destined for Ukraine are constantly passing through Hungary.

Last week, we also reported that videos show that French-made helicopters, which were handed over to the Ukrainian border guards, stopped at the Győr-Pér airport.

Video shows military helicopters handed over to the Ukrainians took off from Hungarian airport

French military helicopters were delivered to the Ukrainian border police via Győr-Pér airport in Western Hungary. This was revealed a few days after the ministry of defense categorically denied that they let Ukraine-bound military shipments through the Hungarian airspace.

Also in April, we showed photos of a Slovenian military convoy on the M3 motorway heading east. Slovenia had just offered armoured fighting vehicles to Ukraine, and the timing and shape of the cargo suggested that they could have been transported through Hungary.

It is noteworthy that the NIK report states that the documents do not refer to ‘direct’ arms shipments from Hungary to Ukraine, and therefore does not deny that such shipments may have passed indirectly through other countries.

The government’s communication on the matter is extremely disingenuous and manipulative: for example, the Ministry of Defence commented on the helicopters seen in Gyor that “Hungary has not allowed any helicopters to pass through to Ukraine (…) no cargoes that could increase the escalation of the war have been allowed to pass from the country’s airspace to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.”

Weapons shipments for Ukraine did pass through Hungary, despite the government’s contradicting claims – English

The Hungarian government claims that it does not allow the transit of arms shipments to Ukraine through Hungarian territory, either by land or air. However, since the war begun, military aircraft have entered Hungarian airspace more than 50 times to reach the Polish airport, which is the main hub for arms shipments to Ukraine.

This much is true, we really do not let them through at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. Instead, ‘escalation cargoes’ from Hungary first enter Slovakia, then Poland, and from there on to Ukraine – we reported the same, and it is no coincidence that the Ministry did not ask for a correction.

The countries supporting Ukraine in the early stages of the war designated Poland as the logistical centre of operations. The logistical centre for the Ukrainian hinterland is Lviv, close to Poland. The known air deliveries of weapons arrive at the Polish airport of Rzeszów, from where they travel by road to Lviv – the Polish airport has received military transport planes from Hungarian airspace and even from Hungarian airports.

The Ministry of Defence’s commentary would therefore read, in less manipulative language, as follows: arms shipments to Ukraine do pass through our territory, but they do not cross the Hungarian-Ukrainian border, but arrive to Ukraine on the Hungary-Slovakia-Poland route.


Zalán Zubor