NATO spy convicted by Estonian court

Herman Simm

Herman Simm

Herman Simm, the Estonian spy who handed classified NATO material to Russia, has been convicted to 12.5 years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1.6 million for damages he caused while spying for the Russians. Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, who once headed the country’s National Security Authority, was arrested last November along with his wife and charged with spying for Russia for over 10 years. At the time of his arrest, Simm’s spying activities were described by Western counterintelligence officials as perhaps “the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War”. This is not only because Simm was “responsible for handling all his country’s classified and top secret material on NATO”, but also because he was in charge of Estonia’s relatively advanced national cyber defense systems, as well as “for many years in charge of issuing security clearance[s]”. Perhaps more importantly, he is said to have been privy to crucial NATO information pertaining to the US missile shield project. Among new information presented during Herman Simm’s trial were the names of his Russian handlers: Valery Zentsov and Sergei Yakovlev, both operatives of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). An interesting piece of information that was not mentioned during Simm’s trial relates to allegations, which surfaced last December, that the Estonian defense official may in fact have been a double agent. Specifically, German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported that Simm was also a paid informant of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service. The magazine claimed that the spy supplied the BND with information on Russian intelligence activity in the Baltic region and that the BND ended its contacts with him “shortly before Estonia joined the European Union in 2004″. There was also speculation as to whether Simm was in fact serving Russian interests by supplying the BND with deliberately falsified information about Russian intelligence operations.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to NATO spy convicted by Estonian court

  1. libhomo says:

    You’d think Russia would find better things to do than to waste money spying on NATO. It’s good to know that the US isn’t the only mismanaged country.

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