RIGA - Special services of unfriendly countries have used Covid-19 to study operations of Latvian institutions during the pandemic, allowing them to predict their reaction in case of potential military crisis, according to the State Security Service's (VDD) report on 2020.
The threat of unfriendly foreign services to Latvia's national security interests have remained high.
Like in previous years, the most significant threat comes from Russian foreign services.
In areas where VDD is engaged in counterintelligence, interest of the special services from China where observed. However, operations of special services of other countries did not reach the level of threat posed by Russia.
Special services of Russia, Belarus and China mostly operate their intelligence from their own territories, remotely. Last year travel restrictions did not allow them to recruit and influence Latvian nationals in their territories. However, cyber intelligence and other intelligence threat increased due to the above mentioned reasons.
VDD reported that China's special services see Latvia as a platform for obtaining information about processes in NATO and the EU, as well as distributing favorable information, justifying China's foreign policy and promoting closer cooperation with China.
In respect to Belarus, its regime will attempt to keep to the power and keep the country under the influence of Russia, strengthening the close cooperation with Russian special services, spying against NATO and EU member states.
Foreign special services were most interested in the NATO Enhanced Presence Battle Groups, Latvia's role in NATO and the EU, Latvia's foreign and security policies, domestic policy, social economic situation, state security institutions and law enforcement institutions, public administration institutions, strategically important sectors, critical infrastructure objects.
The Covid-19 pandemic not only posed challenges to unfriendly special services, but also presented new opportunities. One of them is to observe activities of the responsible institutions, demonstrating readiness to solve crisis situations.
VDD notes that Latvian residents should carefully and critically assess their contacts with foreign state and municipal institutions, companies, higher education institutions, research institutions and high technologies sectors.
According to the security service, the range of recruited persons remains unchanged - state officials with access to classified or sensitive information, persons related with transborder crime, persons who travel to Russia, Belarus, China on a regular basis.