[Headline from DRJ]
High-ranking Polish politicians used a side door to get to the VIP section of Sowa & Przyjaciele, a posh Warsaw restaurant. Sealed off from other patrons, government ministers and lawmakers felt free to speak their minds while enjoying continental cuisine and wine at taxpayers’ expense.
But the privacy was an illusion, the special dining room a trap.
For about a year, waiters secretly recorded public officials at Sowa & Przyjaciele and another restaurant, Amber Room. When a newsmagazine published transcripts from some of the recordings, it spawned a scandal dubbed “Waitergate” that helped topple a pro-European Union government.
According to one observer, Russia’s goal in Poland and in the US is to weaken Western democracies:
Grzegorz Rzeczkowski, a respected investigative reporter for the Polityka newsmagazine, argues in a new book that Russian intelligence services carried out the restaurant buggings on behalf of the Kremlin. He also presents evidence to allege that Polish intelligence figures conspired to use the recordings to bring the right-wing Law and Justice party, or PIS, to power.
In his book, titled “In a Foreign Alphabet: How People of the Kremlin and PIS Played with the Eavesdropping,” Rzeczkowski maintains that, just as with the U.S. election meddling that special counsel Robert Mueller called “sweeping and systematic,” Russia’s goal with Waitergate was to weaken the West.
“It was to open the road to power for the anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-democratic opposition of the time,” Rzeczkowski told a Polish parliamentary panel last month. “Russia had a full, spectacular success.”
It also works to undermine our institutions and faith in our system of government.