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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Estonian Spy Scandal Shakes NATO and EU


Western Secrets for Moscow

From
Spiegel Online
By Holger Stark

For years an Estonian government official has apparently been collecting the most intimate secrets of NATO and the EU -- and passing them on to the Russians. The case is a disaster for Brussels.

Communications between the suspected top spy and his commanding officer se
emed like a throwback to the Cold War. Investigators allege that in order to send messages to his Russian contact, Herman Simm, 61, used a converted radio which looked like a relic from yesteryear's world of consumer electronics. But there was nothing old-fashioned about what Simm, a high-ranking official in the Estonian Defense Ministry in Tallinn, reportedly transmitted to Moscow over the years. It was the very latest intelligence information.

Although Simm was arrested with his wife Heete in the Estonian capital Tallinn on Sept. 21, this spy story -- which has been largely kept under wraps until now -- primarily concerns the European Union and NATO based in faraway Brussels. Since Simm was responsible for dealing with classified information in Tallinn, he had access to nearly all documents exchanged within the EU and NATO. Officials who are familiar with the case assume that "virtually everything" that circulates between EU member states was passed on to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR -- including confidential analyses by NATO on the Kosovo crisis, the war in Georgia and even the missile defense program. Investigators believe that Simm was a "big fish."


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