Bill proposes allowing military intelligence to operate abroad
The government supported a bill on Thursday which, among other things, would permit Estonia’s military intelligence service to collect information outside national borders.
The bill proposes to amend the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act, which also regulates the military’s intelligence activities, spokespeople for the government said.
The plan would give the defense forces the right to collect certain information outside Estonia. So far, the defense forces have had such a right only for situations concerning international military operations.
The law would also extend the military's rights concerning situations where collecting information requires agents to conceal their identity. Regulations for covert agents have been drawn up, according to which the connection of an operative to the Estonian military can be concealed.
Civil oversight over the EDF’s military intelligence operations rests with the Defence Ministry as well as the Riigikogu’s Security Authority Surveillance Committe. They have the right to demand information about the intelligence activities of the Estonian Defence Forces, summon individuals, see documents, and turn to an investigative body or the Chancellor of Justice in case of a suspicion.
Defense Minister Hannes Hanso said in January when seeking opinions on the bill that Estonia was at the forefront of NATO, and that intelligence was an important part of the alliance's early warning system.