Polish Judge with Access to Classified Information Defects to Belarus

Defection Timeline

On May 6th, 2024, at approximately 0500 EST, Polish Judge Tomasz Szmydt of the Warsaw Voivodeship Administrative Court and the former head of the legal department of the National Council of Judges, gave a surprise press conference in Minsk, Belarus where he announced he was seeking asylum. During the press conference, he illuminated his reason for defecting:

“due to disagreement with the policies and actions of the Polish authorities, who, under the influence of the United States and Britain, are leading the country to war, he was persecuted and was forced to leave his homeland.”

Belarusian Foreign Minister Press Secretary Glaz was the first Belarusian official to comment on the defection, they said:

“At the moment, I can definitely say that this appeal will be carefully considered on our part in accordance with Belarusian legislation.”

By 1200 EST on May 6th, 2024, the Polish Internal Security Agency announced that it had opened an investigation into Judge Szmydt to determine the scope of classified information that he had access to.

By 0430 EST on May 7th, 2024 the former judge was interviewed by popular Russian television presenter Valdimir Solovyov. During this broadcast, the former judge announced that he wanted to submit his official resignation as a Polish judge at the Polish embassy in Minsk.

By 0630 EST this morning, Polish Prime Minister Tusk addressed the situation, saying that this incident has a long running context and confirmed that the former judge did have access to highly classified intelligence. Prime Minister Tusk is set to convene the Secret Services Collegium tomorrow to discuss alleged Russian and Belarusian influence inside Poland. As of 1000 EST this morning, disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the former judge, possible charges include treason related to betraying his oath to faithfully serve Poland.

First High-Profile Pole to Go Over Since War Began

While Ukraine has had a spate of government employees defect to the Russian Federation after the beginning of the war, this is the first high-profile Polish official to do the same. The Polish government has taken one of the most significant stands against Russia’s invasion through rhetoric, arms shipments to Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, and aggressive isolation of the Belarusian border following Minsk’s hybrid warfare by pushing Middle East migrants over their shared land border.

Russia and Belarus will certainly use the former judge’s defection in an aggressive information campaign targeting U.S. military presence in Poland and the NATO alliance’s aid to Ukraine.

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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