Estonia won't change state secrets law

  • 2000-08-03
TALLINN (BNS) - The Estonian government on Aug. 1 rejected a bill of amendments to the state secrets law as insufficiently well prepared. The amendments to the state secrets law prepared by the Interior Ministry seek to establish more concrete conditions and rules for access to state secrets by foreigners.

Prime Minister Mart Laar said at a press briefing after the government's session the government had proposed to the interior minister to hear more expert opinions about the planned amendments.

"The issue has to be dealt with more seriously," Laar said. The prime minister said the amendments left unregulated the protection of state secrets of Estonia's partner countries and didn't specify the circle of persons entitled to access to classified documents without additional checks.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson said the currently effective law leaves it sometimes unclear in which cases a foreigner seeking access to Estonian state secrets doesn't have to get security clearance in Estonia.

The authors of the bill said in their covering letter that it's important that foreigners whose background hasn't been checked in Estonia or in a foreign country didn't get access to Estonian state secrets.

Also, the amendments would give the government the right to establish a maximum for the number of access permits that can be issued during any given period.