Former Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik (EKRE) said in an interview with ERR that while the equipment used to detect eavesdropping devices had detected "bugs" in his office, he had never seen the device himself. Järvik said he did not think of turning to the police.
Mart Järvik, when did you discover you were being listened to in the Ministry of Rural Affairs?
I have not clearly discovered it, but doubts arose some time ago when you discover something you have said in the office is known to someone in due course.
What did you do to identify the interception?
I was looking for a way to determine this first and found a couple of friends who had such devices and could then discover some of the recording devices.
Who did you turn to?
To my friends and they helped me too.
But who specifically helped you?
Well, that doesn't matter at all.
So how did you find this device and what did it look like?
I haven't seen it, but the camera shows lights and sounds when there's something there. The sensitivity of the device is adjustable. I tried two devices. Both show that in one section of the ceiling ... if you move downwards, there it goes red and the alarm bell starts to sound.
If you did not see it with your own eyes, and some gadget bought on the internet or in a store showed that something was there, would you not suspect our law enforcement authorities to be be suspicious?
I didn't check with one device, but with two. I think something must be there. And the interesting thing is to go next week, borrow one more device, and then find out if it is still there or not.
Are you planning to do it?
It is still possible.
What did you do? When it comes to illegal surveillance, you need to go to law enforcement. Did you do that?
I couldn't turn to them, when it was probably the 22nd of last month, I sent a letter to [Minister of the Interior] Mart Helme. Under his ministry, there are bodies in place to inspect my office, if possible. If I suspect that there is either listening or surveillance equipment.
Why didn't you go directly to the police?
It didn't even come to that idea. It seemed the easiest. The minister may be able to give orders quickly. But later it came out ... It was a Friday, I guess, and on the Monday, I was out of office (i.e. Järvik was released from office that day-ed.). I think it was probably the 22nd [of November] and Mart Helme saw this letter too late and on the Monday things had already moved on.
Who can or could listen to you?
I can't say that, but for that we have bodies in the country that can investigate. And it's good to have the house inspected.
Was there any sensitive information that should not have reached other people's ears, but did?
No, there was no such information, but when you started to hesitate, you were just telling a story that didn't really exist. And if you hear it somewhere, doubts do arise.
Have you heard from colleagues that some information leaks mysteriously?
Not much has been touched on this subject, but my colleagues know it better. Next week I'll get to meet them, so maybe I'll ask.
Why do you think there might be such a high interest in you?
I owe you an answer, I don't know.
Mart Järvik, what did your time as a minister teach you?
I got a lot of good experiences and that there is quite a lot to be done for Estonian rural life even in seven months. Foreign trade, both locally and cross-border, is in the direction of agriculture. I think I got a lot of good things done for farmers.
What are you doing now and do you intend to pursue big politics?
Well, that is not excluded and two offers have been made, but I have said that I would like to rest in December.
Your party member Arvo Aller may become the new Minister of Rural Affairs. What do you consider to be his strengths and weaknesses?
I don't appreciate strengths or weaknesses, I don't know him that much. I was the one with Merry Aart who wrote that rural program and I know that Arvo Aller, through Merry, helped to read it and make corrections. He is certainly well-versed in rural life. And sure enough he can handle it, I've met him a few times and he seems, to me, to be a very nice person.
Editor: Helen Wright, Andrew Whyte