Intelligence employee suggests Facebook PR drive for outgoing director

Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluuramet) logo.
Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluuramet) logo. Source: Mait Ots / ERR

A spokesperson for the Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluuramet) has contacted several individuals working in the defense and security sector and related areas, suggesting that they post on their social media account statements in support of outgoing intelligence chief Mikk Marran, ERR reports.

Following an opinion piece LINK published by ERR by former Ministry of Defense Deputy Secretary-General Meelis Oidsalu, Foreign Intelligence Service spokesperson Artur Jugaste had contacted up to 10 individuals, reportedly via Facebook messenger, noting that while the organization is disturbed by the piece, which appeared on Monday, both Marran and the intelligence service are not issuing comment on the matter.

While the best course of action was to move on with one's head held high, Jugaste added: "You could, however, certainly do one thing."

"Assuming you disagree with Meelis' characterization of Mikk (in the opinion piece – ed.), I propose that you could state as much on your Facebook 'wall'.

"You could outline some episodes that really portray Mikk as a leader. Or you could simply state that Oidsalu is wrong. In short, in a manner which allows for an alternative to Oidsalu's version of the story," the communique continued.

Jugaste added that doing so was not mandatory for the recipient of his message.

"This is definitely not an obligation or a concealed task from Mikk – I am writing on my own initiative," he added.

Jugaste also responded to an ERR question regarding his message, saying that it had been phrased in a neutral and delicate manner, so as not to pressurize anyone.

As to the number of recipients, Jugaste said that he could not remember exactly, but put the figure at below 10, adding that they were former colleagues of his.

He reiterated that there was no obligation for the recipient to act along the suggested lines, nor had the message been sent at Mikk's behest, again adding that the Oidsalu article went too far, while the public ought to be getting a more balanced picture of Mikk as a leader and as a colleague.

Jugaste said he had received a reply to his message from some recipients, and not from others at that point in time, adding that since noone was under any obligation, there was no issue with the approach.

In Monday's opinion piece, Oidsalu was highly critical of Marran's work while head of the Foreign Intelligence Service from 2015 to this year (Marran was appointed to a second term in 2020 - ed.), claiming that top Estonian official jobs are doled out among a close inner circle, and that Marran had been pressured to leave in order to take up a post heading up another state agency.

Defense ministry Secretary General Kusti Salm did give a short interview with ERR in the wake of the publication of the piece, but effectively gave no comment, other than to deny that Marran had been pressured.

The previous Monday, August 15, reports appeared that Marran was to leave the Foreign Intelligence Service in order to head up the state forestry commission, the RMK.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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