WikiLeaks to Topple Officials in Latvia?
A book [WikiLeaks. Nosaut nedrikst apzelot (Slepeno diplomatiska dienesta telegrammu atsifrejums)], published in Riga last month, revealed the eventual spy in the Latvian presidential administration. One of the cables cited in the book, based on the WikiLeaks materials, named the Latvian official who had allegedly delivered the state secret containing information to the US embassy in Latvia. The report by the then US ambassador to Latvia, Charles Larson, dated August 15, 2008, explained that a Latvian official made it known what was discussed by the most senior Latvian officials at the National Security Council’s meeting on the conflict between Georgia and Russia. It was the Latvian presidential adviser for foreign affairs Andris Pelss who allegedly supplied the US Embassy with the transcript of the meeting, the book says. According to the national daily Neatkariga, ambassador Larson’s report invoked Pelss name 11 times, suggesting that the presidential adviser had spoken in details with the US diplomats on the issues, discussed at the Latvian Security Council.
The session mentioned in the report, started at 8 a.m. and ended after less than two hours. The secret US embassy report entered into the computer at 1:01 p.m. So within less than three hours, the text transcript of the session at the Chancery of the Latvian President was prepared, the presidential adviser managed to visit a US diplomat, conveying the transcript to him and talking to him in detail, and in his turn, the US diplomat, managed to write a report about the meeting, encrypted it and entered into the computer.
Speaking to the daily newspaper, Pelss refrained from detailed comment on the WikiLeaks file, with the pretext that he was not familiar with the book, and marked that it was his professional responsibilities to communicate with the foreign diplomats.
One of Latvian laws says the country’s National Security Council’s documents are considered to belong to state secrets; there are also laws in Latvia which are related to intentional or unintentional disclosure of the state secrets. As it used to say, ignorance of the law does not justify the doer, though in this particular case, it is reasonable to consider that the presidential advisor was aware of these laws.
Also in April, two high-ranking Latvian Prime Minister's staff members unexpectedly left their positions. First, it was Aivis Freidenfelds, the longtime spokesman of the Cabinet of Ministers, who ended his 17 years career in the governmental department. He was followed a few days later by the Prime Minister’s press secretary Liga Krapane. Neither one nor the other expanded on the questions of journalists and did not reveal at whose initiative their employment ended.
Some newspapers, referring to the open-ended informal information, suggested that the employment relationship with the two officials had been suspended because of internal disagreements in the ruling coalition. Still, the timing of these events coinciding with the publication of the book on WikiLeaks cables seemed strange.
It remains to be seen what other officials, sooner or later, would leave their posts in the staff of the Latvian President or Prime Minister in connection with leakage of state secrets. And also, whether the law is equal for all.