According to the Constitution Protection Bureau (CPB), secret services of several countries outside of NATO and the EU did their “jobs” in Latvia in 2012. The overall foreign intelligence service threat in Latvia is said to be moderate.
Such activities are usually performed under the guise of diplomatic representatives in Latvia. The number of officers of different secret services among diplomats could very much be 15-40% of the total number of active foreign diplomats in Latvia.
Similarly to previous years, foreign intelligence services were interested in a number of different areas – Latvia’s internal policy, foreign policy, as well as military and security policies. Foreign powers were also interested in Latvia’s processes and decisions related to joining Eurozone, the process of overcoming the economic crisis, the finances allotted by European funds, Latvia’s energy policy and specific energy related projects.
Foreign secret services were also actively involved in different communities represented in Latvia. According to CPB, the National Security Committee of Belarus has been especially active in Latvia. The point of monitoring communities is to make sure they do not form any anti-governmental opinions and make sure the community supports the political regime of the country it represents.
Officers working at embassies also create a specific network of journalists in order to have them prepare exclusive materials and interviews.
During 2012, CPB kept an eye on a number of organization and individuals engaged in different anti-Latvia directed activities.
There were also several targeted propaganda campaigns organized by foreign media and specially formed organizations.
Several Russian institutions continued to carry out active measures in order to make society and decision makers turn against the Visaginas NPP project. One such organization was the St Petersburg social relations company “Russian Baltic Media Centre”.
Another political and socially important topic foreign intelligence services were particularly interested in was the possible Latgale’s autonomy from the rest of Latvia. For example, the presentation of the Latvian Russian speakers’ rights defender Aleksandr Gaponenko’s book “Latgale: in search of a different existence” was organized in Moscow by one Dmitry Yermolayev – an officer of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.
Traditionally the topic of information campaigns carried out by Russian institutions involves accusing Latvia of supporting the ideas of Nazism, disregard of human rights, as well as exaggerated Latvia’s economic failures related to membership in the European Union.
The CPB has also performed the necessary inspections in regard to permits issued to 1 127 individuals allowing them to work with state secrets. The bureau prepared and issued 739 special permits to work with state secrets.
There were 1 150 separate certificates that allowed working with NATO classified information issued in 2012. There were also 1 243 certificates issued in regard to EU classified information. Access this this kind of information was declined to 5 people.
The bureau also reports that telephone conversations were mostly bugged by the Criminal Police Division of State Police (37.7% of all bugged conversations), Security Police (17.2%), CPB (13.1%) and the Finance Police of the State Revenue Service (12.1%). Telephone conversations were also tapped in by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) (4.3%) and the Military Intelligence Service (3.9%).
The CPB is one of three Latvian state security institutions.