Editorial: intelligence temped

PHOTO: PantherMedia / Scanpix

Crafty thieving is a main skill of a classical spy agent. Why else would Viktor Suvorov, in his «Aquarium», share the little tricks how one will also consider oneself while selling watermelons on Collective Farm marketplace. From literature, we know how a smart agent knows to approach the timid secretary of a high ranking enemy, the latter then making him copies of classified documents during lunch hour. These past years, the major spy scandals are all about information theft. Even so, stuff classified often comes with monetary value attached, and spies are not about the Purpose alone.

In these realms, people begin to detect their options, as evidenced in the court materials of former employees at Estonia’s foreign intelligence agency – the Information Board. Other nuances aside, the main thing was simply filling one’s big pockets.

Get it rich easy, in an environment of loose rules obviously conducive to theft. Stealing from the state – by officials whose daily duties are tightly concealed from the citizen eye by law. In an agency, on the emblem of which the coat-of-arms lion balances itself on the edge of a sword, and the website of which only features its own name, the director-general’s name, the general contacts and some references to law.

While lots of details of the case have not been published, even the little that we do know is shocking. First and foremost for how long a time the officials were able to go unpunished grabbing the public money. From 2002 to 2014 – a whopping 12 years. The €608,000 thus embezzled is for most of us a bizarre sum, one we might never see in the entire lifetime. How sad to realise that instead of seeking our security, these obviously well-educated and intelligent people opted to fill their pockets.

With one’s job hidden from the sceptical public eye, it’s up to superiors alone to be on guard and stand against theft. The way the crooks were able to haul treasure into their nests casts no good light on earlier heads of Information Board – the ones responsible to block the monkey business.

Of the five convicted, four go behind physical bars – far from the rule in Estonian judicial practice, especially not with the white collar crimes. This is to say we’ve had a very bad case here. And one it was discovered, the Law took it serious.