Government: Estonia not gathering intelligence on allies ({{commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (pictured) at a press conference in Tallinn together with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Dec. 27, 2016. Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt affirmd on Thursday that Estonia does not gather intelligence on its allies.

"I repeat: no, Estonia does not spy on its allies," Ratas said at Thursday's government press conference when commenting on allegations recently made in U.S. media.

U.S. magazine Newsweek reported on Wednesday that a Baltic nation is gathering intelligence on officials in President Donald Trump's White House and executives with the president's company, the Trump Organization, out of concern that an American policy shift toward Russia could endanger its sovereignty.

"Such news is not true at all," Ratas stressed, adding that he spoke to Estonian intelligence directors regarding the matter on Thursday. "I have been in contact with the concerned Estonian institutions today in order to be not 99 but 100 percent certain of my words.

"I have also spoken to the head of the security institution in my area of government, the director of the Internal Security Service, and I can also confirm that Estonia is not gathering intelligence on its allies," Anvelt added.

The Minister of the Interior also addressed to the uncertainty in the world following the U.S. presidential election as well as Russia's desire to damage the unity of the West with its information operations.

"It is clear that different influencing operations against Estonia are being conducted by our eastern neighbor," Anvelt stated. "I once again stress that many questions can be answered by reading the yearbooks of the Estonian Information Board and the Estonian Internal Security Service, in which it is written that interest in spreading all sorts of disinformation and false news is also great there."

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson said on Thursday that the claim made in the Newsweek article on Wednesday seems to be intentional disinformation.

In mid-January, a rumor was spread in the U.S. media that Estonian foreign intelligence observed a meeting in Prague between a representative of the future U.S. president and a Russian MP.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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