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National Security Institutions – behind the impenetrable wall of secrecy

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There are three national security institutions operating in Latvia – the Constitutional Protection Bureau (SAB), the Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIDD) and the State Security Service (VDD).

Since, unlike the law enforcement institutions not only in Latvia, but also elsewhere, the operations of the national security institutions are covered by a veil of secrecy, the public image of their activities remains quite vague. Public sources do not provide a much wider insight, more frequently containing unflattering data about the involvement of certain officers of security institutions in criminal and semi-criminal activities.[17], [18]

No less a veil of secrecy covers the activities of the security institutions of the two remaining Baltic States. What is clearly known, is that one of the functions of these institutions is the protection of the state’s critical infrastructure and communication objects which are included in the list of official secret objects.

One of the questions asked within the survey in this regard as well was – “In your opinion, is the state able to protect the security of our critical infrastructure and communications against attacks from foreign hackers and special services?”

The distribution of responses provided to this question in the Baltic States relatively proportionally corresponds to the distribution of responses given to the previous questions. Three percent of the respondents in Latvia, four percent in Lithuania and six percent in Estonia are fully convinced of the state’s abilities in this area.[42]

The percentage of the respondents who are to a large extent convinced of the state’s abilities is the following – 31 percent of the respondents in Latvia, 34 percent in Lithuania, as well as a half of the interviewees in Estonia, whereas, a completely critical attitude towards such abilities of the state is held by 22 percent of the respondents in Latvia, 18 percent of the interviewees in Lithuania and a mere 9 percent of the respondents in Estonia.[42]

In Moldova national security is handled by the Information and Security Service, however, there is no information available in the public space that an equivalent survey was conducted. The same applies to Poland and its National Security Bureau.

[17] https://www.tvnet.lv/4803517/neilgi-pec-vaskevica-automasinas-spridzinasanas-notikuma-vieta-bijis-sab-darbinieks

[18] https://www.pietiek.net/jumtosanas_lietu_ticis_aizturets_ari_haritonovs

[42] The survey conducted by the market and public opinion research company in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – reflected the attitude of the residents of the Baltic States towards their national security. This survey was conducted on the Internet in the autumn of 2022.

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