List of Communist spies leaks on the internet

Monday, February 7, 2005

Poland — A list of 240,000 names from a Soviet Union-era secret file has been leaked on the internet. The list contains the names of potential collaborators with the Communist government of Poland, and its victims. The list has overtaken "sex" as the hottest search item on the internet in Poland. Piotr Tchorzewski, an employee of Poland's biggest Internet portal Onet, said:"This thing is huge. We have recorded around 100,000 Internet searches a day for the list, which is 10 times the number looking for 'sex'."

Last week the Polish journalist Bronislaw Wildstein obtained the list from the National Remembrance Institute (IPN). The files accessed by Wildstein were protected and few people--primarily historians and journalists--had been authorised to see them.

Wildstein obtained the list legally, and he distributed it to his colleagues. Somehow, the list has been leaked on to the internet. Since then the list has been copied and widely distributed on websites and peer-to-peer networks.

On the Onet site the list is at the top of search items. Visitors are referred to 650,000 links related to it. On Google the search for "Wildstein list" returned 15,800 references on February 6, 2005.

The Prime Minister Marek Belka expressed concern for the safety of active intelligence agents whose names might be on the list.