Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) didn't have any problem with Mikk Marran, ex-director general of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS), but he also noted that much of what goes on in the EFIS is protected under state secrets and thus not up for broader discussion.
Contrary to the allegations made by former Defense Ministry undersecretary Meelis Oidsalu in a recent article, Pevkur believes that Marran, who will be taking over as director general of the State Forest Management Center (RMK), had done his job as head of the Foreign Intelligence Service well.
"His term [as director general] was extended a few years ago as well," Pevkur told ERR. "I've had no problems with him in the short time in which I've had a superior-subordinate relationship. Of course when I entered office, Marran let me know that he had applied in a competition, and at the time I saw no reason to do anything until that [hiring] decision had been made. That decision has been made now, and I wish Marran success in his new role and believe he'll do great there."
Commenting on Oidsalu's claims that Marran had flaws as a director, the defense minister countered that if everybody likes a director, then there must be something wrong with that director.
"As director, you can't ever be everyone's cup of tea," he said. "You as director often have to make unpleasant decisions. It is a director's job to keep their office in good shape."
Pevkur acknowledged that it was difficult for him to comment regarding construction of the EFIS building remaining within budget, as the building was completed before he took office as defense minister.
"I would, however, like to emphasize that regardless of the numbers in question here, state secret requirements apply to a significant extent to the construction and furnishing of the EFIS building as well as to the people working there, and unfortunately that's just something we have to take into consideration and accept," he added.
The defense minister noted that the EFIS certainly isn't a very transparent agency, but confirmed that the ministry does keep tabs on the quality of its work. "We have our own levers and control measures, from agreeing on work duties through, if necessary, professional supervision," Pevkur said.
On August 15, it was revealed that RMK had entered negotiations with Marran regarding the latter taking over as director general of the state forest management agency. At the time, Marran had three years left until the contractual end of his term as director general of the EFIS.
Editor: Aili Vahtla