Police chief: teenagers entered president's office during October get-togethers

  • 2006-02-01
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - An inquiry into the teenage revelry at Kadriorg, the presidential palace, revealed that youngsters attending the get-togethers last fall did indeed manage to enter the president's personal offices, although no partying occurred there.

The inquiry, which was carried out by the Police Board, did not uncover any regulation violations by personal security service officers.

Raivo Aeg, director general of the Police Board, told reporters that the teenagers, who visited the residence on the invitation of the president's grandchildren, left the presidential apartments and moved about in the palace's public rooms, rooms of the president's office and also the State Council Hall.

"The youngsters did not have access to important state documents and information protected as state secret," Aeg said.

He stated that the investigation had so far not corroborated reports of the use of narcotics in the palace, nor did officers guarding the presidential residence witness consumption of alcohol by the minors, which would have provided grounds to intervene.

The probe established that four young people climbed onto the roof of the palace next to the state flag, but there was no indication of their having defiled the flag.

The inquiry also proved claims that the young people were able to enter the president's apartment by knowing the lock combination as false, since the door does not have such a lock.

Aeg said personal security service officials received the first warning about parties in the presidential residence early in October, when the presidential couple was staying on Saaremaa Island. A second signal came at the end of the same month.

Officials of the security police did not inform the president and his spouse directly about the parties, he stated.

The North Prefecture has continued pursuing a misdemeanor charge on possible breaches of law in the president's residence, the police chief added.

Spokespeople for the prefecture explained police want to find out whether provisions of the alcohol and tobacco laws were violated during the parties.

The alcohol law bans minors from consuming alcoholic beverages and the tobacco law prohibits under-18-year-olds from smoking and using other tobacco products.

Regarding the secret service, Aeg said all regulations were observed by the palace's guards during the parties.

"The investigation established that the president's physical security was never in jeopardy, nor did unauthorized persons have access to important state documents and information protected as state secret," Aeg said.

Nevertheless, he admitted that the investigation showed the need to review security regulations concerning the president and other VIPs so as to set down more exactly the provisions relating to their guarding. Corresponding work has already begun, he said.

In Aeg's words, it is necessary that officers responsible for the president's security orient their work not only around concrete regulations, but by taking a broader look at situations. Members of the unit guarding the residence should have foreseen possible developments and reacted accordingly, the police chief said.

He mentioned in particular that the movement of information between different agencies and officials was substandard. In other words, that information about parties in the presidential residence did not reach the head of the police and the interior minister.

"The personal security service has till now focused on protecting the presidential residence from external threats and strictly observing set regulations. When information about parties came, someone should have realized such gatherings could pose risks," Aeg said.

Public broadcaster ETV's weekly Pealtnagija (Eyewitness) earlier this month revealed that the president's granddaughters, Maria, 13, and Helena, 15, had thrown several parties at his residence since last October.

President Arnold Ruutel and his wife Ingrid issued a public apology for their grandchildren's behavior