We will all find out on Wednesday: influence on politicians was very refined

Vytautas Bakas
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

The Seimas National Security and Defence Committee (NSGK) is finalising its conclusions in the investigation of business influence on politics. They are to be presented to the public with most names included on Wednesday.

“The conclusions are being written up today and there are plans to work throughout the weekend. Our goal is to present the final project and present it in the Wednesday meeting for committee members to vote on. Afterward to present it to the public on the same day,” NSGK chairman Vytautas Bakas said.

According to the committee chairman, today was to be the questioning of former Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, however “Because it is Friday, people are going to districts,” it was agreed that he will present his statement in writing, which he did on Friday morning.

V. Bakas also invited other politicians, who believe that they were undeservedly either not heard out or wish to make statements, to present their position in writing by Monday.

“I would invite my colleagues, if someone wants to, they can write or email, come on Monday and sign. I will present it to the committee on Wednesday to add on to the investigation conclusions and we will simply expand them,” the politician said. He did not hide that he has received calls from other politicians, including angry ones.

“But there is certainly no reason to be angry at us because we can all together make amendments and cooperate in presenting information to the public. From what I see, some people did not even know that they were being manipulated or played. This is because the influence was so streamlined that it was not the simply “I call – you do,” it was more refined,” the committee chairman spoke.

Denies planning to continue the investigation

The NSGK chairman was surprised on reading in the media that there are plans to continue the investigation. At the same time, he does not deny such a proposal having been made in the committee.

“On Wednesday it was decided that we would not continue the investigation. (…) We decided to not politicize it. For example, invite Landsbergis only because he is Landsbergis, there’s no points to that. Plus there is the judicial review process. We are not involving ourselves in the pre-trial investigation and court process, agreeing jointly to deliberate and vote on the final conclusions, presenting them to the public on Wednesday,” V. Bakas said.

The committee chairman was surprised by differing musings.

“I am surprised over what is being written. This is because I am looking how people unrelated to the investigation are commenting and they create illusions that someone will continue something. No, that won’t happen. The committee has as mandate from the Seimas, limits and deadlines set by the Seimas and it is our own decision to publish these conclusions,” V. Bakas said.

According to him, on Wednesday matters will proceed as follows: the NSGK will vote on the conclusion, it will be passed, registered in the Seimas database and thus will become available to all Lithuanian residents online. Then a press conference will be organised, which will also be broadcast online and available to journalists.

Most information declassified

According to the committee chairman, the NSGK contacted the intelligence services with a request to declassify the information, which was presented for the investigation. And most of the information was declassified over several stages, however the conclusions will also be based on classified information.

“There is a dozen witnesses in it, there is both public and non-public intelligence information, that is to say certain analytical information, information from state institutions. We contacted the Central Electoral Commission, Public Procurement Service, Ministry of Finance,” V. Bakas listed.

According to him, what has been leaked to the public is only a detail, which “in some cases is not even correctly interpreted because the whole picture isn’t visible.”

“Judgements are made and emotions riled up too hastily,” V. Bakas said.

The committee chairman promised that the publically available conclusions will feature names.

Only the part of information, which is criminal intelligence information or linked to investigations, where intelligence sources or methods could be uncovered, will be left classified.

“but we certainly have a goal and that, what I see, will be enough for the public to form an impression of the picture – starting with the interest groups, who are hampering Lithuania’s energy independence, ending with internal interest groups, who wish to have politicians in their pocket or obtain beneficial decisions, unbeknownst to anyone,” V. Bakas said.

Promises to counter arguments of selective investigation on Wednesday

The NSGK chairman pledges to counter recent arguments that the investigation is selective on Wednesday.

“People, who talk about it are usually those, who do not participate in this investigation. I can only say that in the material we received, the resistance of all parliamentary parties, certain MPs, politicians and officials to influence was analysed,” V. Bakas said.

According to him, those, who were vulnerable were specified to the committee and most will be disclosed to the public as well.

“”We do not investigate separate politicians or individuals, journalists. We analyse power centres, which influenced political decisions and continue to try: what those centres are, how they work, what their interests are and through what do they accomplish them? It is important to reveal the shadow politics process to the public, rather than take revenge on anyone,” V. Bakas assured.

According to him, it is also important to propose the directions, which could change political culture, ensure that such power centres do not appear, so that decisions are made by government elected by the people.

“So that people could expect decisions which match their interests, rather than some sort of below the table dealings that are seen by no one or such that exists for 10-14 years. 12 reports show that similar processes also occurred at the time, I just do not know, why a decision to uncover them was not made then,” V. Bakas said.

Cannot declassify prior investigations themselves

The NSGK chairman mentioned that there will be a decision on the famous and so far still classified 12 State Security Department reports from the 2006 investigation.

“The decision will not disappoint you. We have a decision, which will allow the public to form a view because in fact a part of those reports are somewhat linked,” V. Bakas said.

However, according to him the NSGK “is not a public relations agency or press centre.”

“We do not have the goal of publishing prior investigations. We do not have such a mandate. But we can recommend in our conclusions to publish, for example those VSD reports. But for us to do it, it would be absurd because it would overstep our task, which was formulated by the Seimas. I believe that the public must know about those 12 reports,” V. Bakas said.

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Žurnaliste dirbu nuo 2006 metų. Rašau vidaus ir užsienio politikos temomis. Savo darbe siekiu paprasto tikslo būti efektyvia reportere, o tai reiškia būti patikimu informacijos šaltiniu savo auditorijai. Kaip yra sakęs buvęs ilgametis BBC žurnalistas ir redaktorius Alexas Kirby, iš kurio turėjau galimybę mokytis – geras žurnalistas yra dvejojantis optimistas ir viltingas skeptikas. Stengiuosi tokia išlikti. Dirbau korespondente naujienų agentūroje ELTA, dvejus metus rašiau Lietuvos žiniasklaidai iš Paryžiaus ir Briuselio, stažavausi prancūzų dienraštyje "La Croix". Esu baigusi Vilniaus universiteto Tarptautinės komunikacijos magistro studijas.
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