March 07, 2007

Friends Like These

From CQ Homeland Security:
The most powerful politician in Bulgaria, Washington’s newest ally in the global war on terror, is a close associate of known mobsters and linked to almost 30 unsolved murders in the Black Sea republic, according to a confidential risk-analysis investigation of of the country commissioned by a private bank.

The U.S. partnership with Boyko Borissov, 48, a popular former interior minister now poised to capture Bulgaria’s presidency, is the latest example of the political trade-offs involved in the Bush administration’s global war on terrorism, which has put the Pentagon, CIA and FBI in bed with some of the world’s most corrupt and thuggish leaders.

Borissov, former body guard to both the last communist dictator and his post-communist successor before being appointed chief secretary of the interior ministry in 2001, claimed a major role last year in having the FBI open an office in Sofia, the capital.

A karate fanatic — a one-time coach of the Bulgarian national team — whose signature attire is a black leather jacket, Borissov was also a major player in last year’s deal with the Bush administration to base U.S. air, naval and army forces in Bulgaria, a potential staging ground for an attack on Iran, about 800 miles east across the Black Sea.

Borissov, who encourages comparisons to Arnold Schwarzenegger, shed the interior ministry last year to become the immensely popular, high profile mayor of Sophia, and there is little doubt in Bulgaria he is maneuvering to take control of the government in the 2009 elections.

Traffic update: This story is certainly generating lots of interest, with Google search hits coming from the Bulgarian government, among others. I am enabling comments if anyone has more info on this guy.

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