Cyprus Mail

Former spy boss brought out of retirement to head up the Central Intelligence Service

comment panayiotides former permanent secretary of the foreign ministry, tasos tzionis
Retired career ambassador and grand master of rejectionism, Tasos Tzionis

Former spy boss Tasos Tzionis has been brought out of retirement to head up the Central Intelligence Service (KYP) once again, it emerged on Thursday.

Tzionis, 68, had previously served as director of KYP from 2003 to 2008, during the presidency of Tassos Papadopoulos.

He is now taking over the post from Kyriacos Kouros.

As the new director of the intelligence service, Tzionis’ role will be upgraded, as he will also sit in on the just-announced National Security Council.

According to media reports, the concept for the National Security Council came from Tzionis himself, who back in March handed a brief to President Nikos Christodoulides.

Tzionis will reportedly also undertake the composition of the National Security Council.

A career diplomat, Tzionis had served at various posts before his stint as KYP director in 2003.

He worked in the political affairs desk at the foreign ministry, and later as Cyprus ambassador to Israel and then Italy.

He also worked as a mediator for Israel and Lebanon in talks aimed at resolving the two nations’ dispute over their economic waters.

In 2019 Tzionis became permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, a position he left on his retirement in March 2020.

KYP was founded in 1970 by President Makarios. The agency is responsible for internal and external national security.

Under a new law, the agency will be able to have its own employees either as permanent members of the intelligence services or under contract, and even be able to buy services from the private sector. Its budget will be confidential and under the control of the new director.

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