Estonian ministry: Security measures of US embassy within terms of memorandum

USA saatkond Tallinnas Kentmanni tänaval.

PHOTO: Sander Ilvest / Postimees

After a report of alleged unauthorized surveillance of people in the street on behalf of the U.S. embassy in Tallinn, the Estonian Interior Ministry analyzed the memorandum on providing for the security of the diplomatic representation and confirmed that neither side has overstepped the terms of the memorandum.

The Interior Ministry analyzed the memorandum and examined the activities of the embassy's surveillance unit operating on its basis and of the agencies in the ministry's purview, spokespeople for the ministry said. On the basis of the information collected in the course of the analysis and the checked data, the ministry affirms that the sides' activities have not crossed the boundaries set down in the document. The unit has been engaged in identifying threats so as to ensure the safety of the embassy and the ministry did not find evidence of surveillance of any individuals.

It appears from the analysis that for instance last year the unit identified five potential threats to the embassy and forwarded the information to Estonia's internal security agencies. In none of the cases was the threat confirmed and the embassy was accordingly informed. The data checked by the Interior Ministry showed that the embassy was only informed about the absence of perceived threat but other data that would have allowed some individual to be identified were not passed on.

"It is important to stress that Estonia's duty is to ensure the safety of the embassies located here. Our guiding principle is that everyone is entitled to a police agency's help to prevent threat and that in the process protection of personal data must be ensured," said the ministry's deputy secretary general for internal security policy Erkki Koort who was in charge of the analysis.

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