The Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (Slovene: Slovenska obveščevalno-varnostna agencija; SOVA or Sova, pronounced [ˈsɔ̀ːʋa]; lit. Owl) is the main civilian intelligence service in the Republic of Slovenia and as a government agency is subordinated directly to the Prime Minister of Slovenia. The mission of SOVA as the central intelligence and security service in the Republic of Slovenia is to provide national security. The agency's headquarters are located at Stegne Street in Dravlje, northwest of Ljubljana's centre.
Its military counterpart is the Intelligence and Security Service (Slovene: Obveščevalno-varnostna služba; OVS), which is part of the Ministry of Defense.
SOVA traces its origins to the State Security Service (Slovene: Uprava službe državne varnosti; SDV), which was formed in 1966 when Slovenia was still within Yugoslavia, by renaming as the State Security Administration. On 9 May 1991 the service was renamed as the Security and Information Service (Slovene: Varnostno-informativna služba; VIS). Renaming to the current name was performed on 17 June 1993, at which time the agency was transferred from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Government of Slovenia.
Before the Ten-Day War the then VIS recorded a phone call between a member of the Slovenian Presidency Ciril Zlobec and the Italian consul, during which Zlobec informed the Italian consul of the date of the Slovenian Declaration of Independence.
Under the Brejc period some leading members of the LDS party. were recorded.
After Iztok Podbregar was replaced as director by the new government in 2006, a special investigation team under the leadership of the new Minister of Justice Lovro Šturm was formed with the task of reviewing the agency's activities. The investigation found an undocumented black fund, which was used to cover non-traditional cancer treatments for then-President Janez Drnovšek, as well as the purchase of expensive retirement presents, establishment of companies, among other things. The investigation team also revealed that SOVA was wiretapping over 3000 foreign telephone numbers, and was recording telephone conversations between the Slovenian and Croatian Prime Ministers.
In March 2007, the daily newspaper Dnevnik exposed SOVA's safe house in the centre of Ljubljana, while writing about a visit to it by SOVA's director Matjaž Šinkovec and the PM's consultant Aleksander Lavrih. After this the agency's collaboration with the German Bundesnachrichtendienst regarding telecommunications tapping in the Western Balkans was also exposed.
In September 2011 about 80 photos of former UDBA agents with retired and current SOVA agents were published on several internet sites; these photos were taken during a picnic, while some agents were drunk and displaying communist symbols. Among them was also Zvonko Hrastar, ex-agent (and husband of state prosecutor Branka Zobec Hrastar), who in 1988 arrested Janez Janša (future defense and prime minister) and with this started the JBTZ trial.
In March 2012 it was revealed that former director Sebastjan Selan ordered expensive furniture (in excess of €112,000) for his executive-level 5-bedroom apartment, which was intended for high level international meetings. This was done while the government was imposing budget cutbacks. The new director Damir Črnčec discontinued his use of the apartment and ordered an internal review.
In January 2013, the Commission for the prevention of corruption of the Republic of Slovenia received an indictment, that was also sent to the President of the Republic, and to the parliamentary Commission for Supervision of Intelligence and Security Services, the agency may be politically biased because after 2011 the leading positions were taken by members of Janez Janša's political party, the Slovenian Democratic Party.