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Prime Minister: findings of Parliamentary Enquiry Committee call for reform
in national security services

Date

2009 12 23

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Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has stated that the findings of the investigation led by the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence have confirmed that Lithuania provided the necessary conditions for the operation of a CIA detention centre. It included the facility itself, as well as logistical support which possibly provided for covert transportation and imprisonment of suspects in Lithuania spared of the control of the Lithuanian authorities and the public.

According to the Prime Minister, even if there is no clear-cut evidence that the site was actually used for its intended purpose, the fact itself of the existence of the infrastructure for detention gives enough cause for concern. It also shows that a tiny group of officials from the State Security Department (SSD) was able to take a decision to build a detention centre without the knowledge of the public and possibly the authorities, and in circumvention of the parliamentary control. What is particularly disturbing is that the decision taken by a small number of officials was enforced in violation of intelligence and financial legislation and ignoring possible negative consequences to Lithuania’s international reputation.

The Prime Minister is convinced that the USA is Lithuania’s strategic partner, and cooperation in all the fields, including secret operations and the fight against terrorism, is very important. However, strategic partnership with the US must not be used as an excuse to act by employing soviet style methods: ignoring civil control over security services and violating the law.

The Prime Minister has quoted British journalist Edward Lucas, who in his book The New Cold War maintains that the post-communist states in the Central and Eastern Europe are geopolitically vulnerable firstly due to the state corruption and security services repudiating civil control. According to the Prime Minister, the Committee has confirmed that Lucas’s remarks are relevant to the SSD as well.

The investigation into the CIA prison has revealed how culture of control evasion and lawlessness emerged and developed in the SSD and how the SSD began to turn into a state within the state, which engaged in its own-purpose power games and distanced itself from the true interests of the state. Finally, it became irrelevant to the SSD with whom to play the game: be it the CIA or disreputable intermediaries for gas imports from the East, possibly related with the security services of unfriendly states. The facts have been uncovered by the Committee’s earlier investigation into the alleged corrupt relations between the SSD and Foreign Ministry officials. The Prime Minister has pointed out that the first investigation by the Committee had been launched following Colonel Vytautas Pociūnas’s death.

The Prime Minister has expressed his regret at the fact that the SSD had not translated the findings of the investigation conducted by the Committee on National Security and Defence into action and hope that the second investigation of the Committee on secret CIA prisons in Lithuania would help reform the SSD and restore public confidence in the institution. In the Prime Minister’s opinion, it is vital to change the tactics gone wrong when the SSD sets its own goals and does not account for its actions to controlling institutions. The Prime Minister is convinced that the tasks for special services must be formulated by the authorities and carried out under the efficient supervision of the Parliament. The Prime Minister thinks that the changes should proceed along the lines of the concept put forward by President Dalia Grybauskaitė concerning the strengthening of the control of intelligence services.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister dismisses claims that the investigation into secret CIA prisons purportedly plays into the hands of countries that are hostile to Lithuania. On the contrary, Lithuania’s enemies, as interested parties, want that our secret services would not meet the basic requirements prevalent in democratic countries, would not be subject to the control of public authorities and would remain as a symbol of Lithuania’s unreliability and backwardness in a civilized world as long as possible. The Prime Minister notes that Lithuania feels a strong sense of responsibility towards its allies in the European Union and NATO to reform and depolitise the SSD as soon as possible, thereby purging itself of such a symbol.

The Prime Minister underlines that Lithuania considers its military mission in Afghanistan an important area of cooperation with allies, while an honest assessment of the lessons of the CIA prison in Lithuania and a reform of the special service will only improve the quality of our cooperation with our strategic partner, the USA.