EKRE leader: former functions of military intelligence must be restored
The erstwhile functions of military intelligence need to be restored in Estonia, and stricter controls implemented, when recruiting high ranking officials of other ethnic nationalities to Estonian institutions such as the military, chair of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and deputy chairman of the parliament's national defence committee Mart Helme said on Friday.
Mr. Helme stated that Wednesday's incident concerning alleged traitors Deniss Metsavas and his father Pjotr Volin, is the consequence of long-term, wrong-headed policy.
"The politically correct line emerged during president [Toomas Hendrik] Ilves' time, namely that Russians are not discriminated here and the path is open for them to high positions in government agencies," Mr. Helme said.
"The shameful dissolution of military intelligence, a special service 'in competition' with the Internal Security Service (ISS), under the leadership of the Reform Party in 2008 is also paying itself back painfully,'' he went on.
Military intelligence 'castrated'
''While today's military intelligence has been ordered to deal primarily with monitoring Russian military activity, only ten years ago, military intelligence was the third intelligence institution next to the ISS and the Information Board, which among other things had the right to carry out special surveillance activities,'' Mr. Helme said.
''Military intelligence issued in advance warnings concerning both the 2007 [bronze soldier night-ed.] protests as well as [currently imprisoned-ed.] Hermann Simm. With the castration of Estonian military intelligence, the Kremlin has been able more powerfully than before to develop their network of spies and sent their agents to ministries, parties as well as security organizations," he went on.
Mr. Helme opined that it is criminal to overlook the so-called fifth column in Estonia.
"The recent words of Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria), that ethnic nationalities have nothing to do with the apprehended traitors, show that life in denial goes on. Instead of fighting the cancer created by the Kremlin, our current security officials are chasing 100-year-old [World War Two] Battle of Tannenberg Line veterans and non-existent Nazis,'' Mr. Helme continued.
Leaning on allies too much
''Catching the traitor Metsavas was very likely not due to the work of the Estonian special services, but that of our allies," he added.
According to Mr. Helme, Estonia cannot however rely solely on the intelligence information of its allies.
"Firstly, state administrative agencies should apply stricter controls than before regarding citizens of foreign origin who have reached national positions of responsibility. Military intelligence should once again become a surveillance institution alongside ISS and the Information Board,'' he continued.
''On the one hand, we are hindering the systematic recruitment and undermining the work of our eastern neighbour with this. On the other, it is crucial that intelligence institutions carry out cross checks regarding each another. Let us recall that there have been traitors also among ISS," Mr. Helme concluded.
Metsavas and Volin were arrested on Wednesday after the Office of the Procurator General obtained permission to do so from Harju County Court.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte