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Pocius refuses to step down

  • 2006-12-13
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - State Security Department Director General Arvydas Pocius announced that he had no intentions of stepping down and that two suspended counterintelligence officers were to blame for the failure of several recent security operations. On Dec. 11, Pocius said he would wait for the president's opinion on conclusions drawn by Parliament's national security and defense committee, which found Pocius "unfit for heading the department," Lithuanian radio reported.

But President Valdas Adamkus has described the ongoing debate on the parliamentary investigation, which has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, as a "concert" he would like to stay out of. Previously the president has said he would wait for the full report before making a decision.

Pocius deflected criticism against him, saying two former counterintelligence agents were a threat to national security. In an interview with Lietuvos Rytas on Dec. 9, the director general said the officers had already disrupted several important operations.
"Their politicizing and forgery of information has already aborted several intelligence operations. Some of them imagined they knew everything and decided to ignore the department's leadership or even organize plots against it," Pocius said.
The State Security Department's senior counterintelligence officers, Vytautas Damulis and Vilmantas Bieliauskas, have been suspended from their duties until the investigation is completed.

"It turned out that the counterintelligence geniuses were against intelligence," Pocius said. "They revealed our methods and actions to the parliamentary committee, and it will soon reach the streets."
Pocius noted that a probe was opened into the handover of classified information to an unspecified foreign country.
On Dec. 12, the ruling Social Democrats met with Pocius to discuss the opposition Homeland Union's (Conservatives) proposal to demand information that he previously refused to present to the parliamentary committee.
The Conservatives have already registered a draft resolution proposing that the State Security Department provide the "requested and still unreceived analytic materials" within 10 days.

The committee failed to answer one question on the department's possibly corrupt relations, saying the answer could not be given due to the department's refusal to provide information.
Pocius had withheld the desired information, arguing that it could harm an ongoing investigation. By law, such decisions are made by the head of the institution.
In Pocius' words, a special Security Department commission had already presented its conclusions, and now the department must make its final decisions.

"The decisions will be stern with regard to some officers," stressed the security chief.
"We have evidence about attempts to unlawfully receive counterfeit information as a way of discrediting the investigations carried out by the State Security Department," he added.
After approving draft conclusions by a parliamentary committee unfavorable to the State Security Department on Dec. 11, Parliament plans to put them to a vote next week.
Parliament's national security and defense committee, which carried out the probe, has said "that Pocius is not able to properly organize the department's work, nor head it."
Under Lithuanian law, the head of the State Security Department is appointed and dismissed by the president upon approval from Parliament.

The idea of holding a parliamentary investigation was suggested after Pociunas died after falling from his hotel window during a business trip in Brest, Belarus, on Aug. 23. Pociunas worked at the Lithuanian consulate in Grodno.
Prosecutors determined that the death was an accident.
But after the media presented various versions of the incident, which questioned the State Security Department's leadership, investigators expanded the probe, looking into the department's in-house activities.