Tallinn government surveillance cameras reveal black bag operation

A surveillance camera monitoring the City Government building in Estonian capital Tallinn has recorded nighttime images of what appears to be a black bag operation by either Kaitsepolitseiamet (KPol), the country’s  Security Police, or by Russian intelligence. Black bag operations refer to covert, surreptitious entries into structures in the course of human intelligence missions. Responding to allegations by Tallinn mayor, Edgar Savisaar, the country’s public prosecutor disclosed that KPol officers had surreptitiously entered the building to “remove secret microphones” from the office of Ivo Parbus, an adviser to the city’s deputy mayor, who has been arrested in connection with a bribing scandal. However, Tallinn’s mayor says that he does not believe the break-in to have been authorized by KPol, and that “he has information that one [of the] person[s seen] entering the building is a former spy of the Russian army”. Last month, Estonia made intelligence headlines when its counterintelligence agents arrested Herman Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, on charges that he spied on behalf of Russian intelligence for nearly 30 years. A few days ago, German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported that Simm was also a paid informant of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service. Some insiders speculate that the apparent black bag operation at Tallinn’s City Government building may be in some way connected to the Simm espionage affair. [JF]

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