Defense minister admits existence of secret unit

  • 2000-02-10
TALLINN (BNS) - Defense Minister Juri Luik on Feb. 7 admitted in

Parliament that a secret guard unit subordinate to the information service existed in Estonia in 1998-1999, but gave assurances that it has been disbanded by now.

Luik said the guard platoon formed under the staff company of the Single Guard Battalion in 1998 was financed by the Defense Ministry's counterintelligence unit, the information service.

The special unit was disbanded in December by the acting army chief, Col. Urmas Roosimagi.

Luik said he found out about the guard unit last May. He told the lawmakers he cannot give them more detailed information about the unit in compliance with the state secrets law.

Eerik Niiles Kross, coordinator of special services, and Foreign Ministry Chancellor Indrek Tarand gave explanations about the formation and activity of the secret unit to the parliamentary national defense and security police supervisory committees.

MP Enn Tarto, who was present at the meeting, refused comment on the activity of the special unit, citing the state secrets law.

He said only that the meeting with Kross and Tarand was very informative and that there was nothing reproachable in their actions.

Kross stated that the unit attached to the information service was nothing but an ordinary guard platoon.

According to earlier reports in the Estonian media, the secret unit was a well trained special detachment whose tasks included guarding important buildings and persons, and if need be, seeing to the safety of government members being evacuated from the country.