Committee chair: Communication working between security agencies and defmin

EFIS. Source: Mait Ots / ERR

Chairman of the Riigikogu National Defense Committee Raimond Kaljulaid said that the committee was given an overview of the communication between security agencies and the Ministry of Defense on Wednesday. Kaljulaid was assured the relationship is professional and businesslike.

Kaljulaid told ERR that the committee was given an overview of various agencies' capacity to give defense policy shapers and decision-makers timely and relevant information.

"It is the position of the committee that the Ministry of Defense, government and Riigikogu need timely and accurate information to make decisions. In this context, it is important there is daily professional communication between the ministry and its various agencies in charge of intelligence gathering. Members of the committee were assured that this has been, is today and will continue to be the case. People in charge of the field are working diligently and professionally every day," Kaljulaid said.

He emphasized that it is vital to ensure the agencies' work is not affected by the public polemic, adding that members of the parliamentary committee concluded that work is coming along.

"My message is that we can put this thing to bed now. We need to discuss national defense, including which aspects could be improved, but I believe continued public debate will not add value in this matter. And I would recommend wrapping this thing up, moving on and concentrating on more principal matters," Kaljulaid said.

Committee vice chair Leo Kunnas (EKRE) said that what was said at the meeting is classified but added that it's a wider problem that national defense as described in the 2013-2022 national defense development plan does not match the current security situation.

"My question is how was such a situation allowed to develop?" Kunnas said.

Kunnas said there are three possibilities or a combination thereof for the current situation developing. "The first is that input offered by security agencies wasn't up to scratch. That they failed to foresee security developments. The second is that the input was okay but the EDF Headquarters and commander were unable to harness it to make capable decisions. And thirdly, it is possible the ministry, analyzing input from the Defense Forces, failed to make the necessary adjustments."

"Alternatively, the entire administrative area decided not to ask the government for anything, knowing it would not be granted. Or that if we ask, we will get a telling to and jeopardize our posts," he added.

"We need to address the core problem to make sure we do not repeat these mistakes," Kunnas suggested.

Last week, passions were stirred by an opinion piece by Meelis Oidsalu, former undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense, where he criticized Mikk Marran as director of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) and tensions between the service and the defense ministry.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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