National security threats emerge when politicians will it

Russia's consul general to Klaipėda Vladimir Malygin, MP I. Rozova of the Russian Alliance  iand MEP W. Tomaszewski of the Polish Election Action at a veterans meeting in Klaipėda
Russia's consul general to Klaipėda Vladimir Malygin, MP I. Rozova of the Russian Alliance iand MEP W. Tomaszewski of the Polish Election Action at a veterans meeting in KlaipėdaN.Jankausko nuotr.

How things should be, but unfortunately currently aren’t. Information regarding member of Seimas Irina Rozova’s contacts with Russian diplomats, who were possibly performing intelligence gathering under diplomatic cover had to have been reviewed by the National Security and Defence Committee (NSGK) immediately upon it being received, but somehow politicians only chose to express concern over a potential new threat to national security only a year and a half later. Why Mečys Laurinkus asks in lrytas.lt?

Not wanting alongside M. Bastys another, potentially also unsuccessful, impeachment story? Waiting for a suitable political moment? This premise is far more convincing than a paper “left shelved.”

I have no doubt that a number of significant opposition members reviewed the content of the “paper”. And so came hour X. The Conservatives and Liberals do not like the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, which has entered the government and even gained strategic positions. To me also the current coalition alliance looks odd.

But the I. Rozova’s card was already morally invalid. Since it was drawn not from concern over “national security”, but for a partisan struggle. And if the investigations reveal even more “serious” facts than are currently disclosed, the public will always see the significance of the inquiry as having a double bottom, legitimately asking – is this a political game perhaps?

Doubts also arise by the opposition’s broad intend to reveal in the parliamentary investigation the architecture, influence mechanism of Russia’s (the Kremlin’s) influence on Lithuanian political life and individual parties. I don’t think they’ll be discovering any new lands.

For almost twenty years, the VSD would annually provide the Seimas NSGK and in recent years also the public a report and evaluations on threats to the country. The aforementioned architecture receives much attention there. By the way, this has long not been a state secret. The news media has described in “novels” on Russian diplomats’ contacts to members of Seimas. Specific names included.

From the very moment of regaining independence, not excluding even the B. Yelcin era, Russia was always interested and sought to establish contacts with various public and political groups, specific individuals in Seimas. Depending on interests, during some years the interaction was intensive (it was vividly described by former Seimas Speaker A. Paulauskas), in others – more occasional, but never ceasing.

The preventative measures available to the VSD are rather limited. You can talk to a member of Seimas, warn about looming threats, you can inform the Seimas speaker or NSGK chairman, in extreme cases (very rarely – spying) you can start legal persecution.

However, it may be, you cannot react as if Lithuania and Russia have cut diplomatic ties. This is what is seems like when politicians involve themselves in “investigations”. They are never unbiassed and always look to partisan interests.

Thus, for services that provide parliamentarians information (based on the experience of other democratic states), we must carefully think about the next steps regarding the presented material, the potential uproar, reaction in the public and even international relations.

Both from personal experience and from watching political events in Lithuania, I can firmly say that politicians in Seimas should be provided by the services with exceptionally specific and vetted information, with the least room for interpretation possible. When the word “potentially” emerges, a politician representing a party will always employ the most beneficial content for his party.

Unfortunately, the word “potentially” is the most frequent in our various parliamentary commission inquiries.

Another important circumstance with information departing the walls of an intelligence service in accordance with the procedure is how to regulate the information’s use in the recipient institution.

I do not know what the current procedures are in Seimas, but from the board’s complaints against the Seimas speaker and his to the NSGK over I. Rozova, one can guess that there are not just misunderstandings, but also chaos. On a topic that could decide the future course of a person’s life.

It is especially dangerous in the field of partisan struggles, if it is unclear, who and based on what procedure must hand over sensitive information. There are also unexpected turns in the Lithuanian zone of the classified world. In its pursuit of the protection of state secrets and opportunities to work with them at a Western level, Lithuania has walked a difficult path.

In the first years of independence, the public sphere, even in the form of overt mockery, the opinion was dominant that Lithuania, a small country, can have no real secrets and efforts to regulate such a zone are seemingly soviet heritage.

After entry into the EU and NATO, procedures emerged even in this especially sensitive area. As in any serious country, it was established, what is to be classified and who can access and work with the classified. The rules are the same across the entire Euro-Atlantic community.

When granting an individual the ability to work with classified information and sometimes when refusing to, disputes would arise (while I participated in the process), but the procedure was in place to resolve them.

But it wouldn’t even have come to mind that after refusing a permit to work with classified information, toward them suspicions could arise that they are disloyal to the state. Perhaps then you should check if you can work with classified information even before entering Seimas, during elections? Absurd.

The issuing or stripping of a permit to work with state secrets has nothing to do with the love of the homeland, loyalty to the country, patriotism or lack thereof. There are other technical and even formal circumstances. Of course, the withholding of information on the form is a very important factor. But even this is an extra detail to review. But by no means on the field of political struggle. Namely, in thoughts arise for some to make use of refusal to issue permits to work with state secrets as something to use against a political opponent. This should not be the case but unfortunately seems to already be.

lrytas.lt
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