2021.07.08 10:05

Overhaul in Lithuania's intelligence push out whistleblower, ‘disloyal’ officers

BNS2021.07.08 10:05

Several dozen intelligence officers have left Lithuania's State Security Department (VSD) this year amid an ongoing reorganisation of the country's intelligence institutions.

One of them is a whistleblower who had informed in 2019 about the allegedly illegal checks carried out on people close to the then presidential candidate Gitanas Nausėda, has reported.

Read more: Whistleblower claims Lithuania's intelligence investigated president's campaign

The officers who lost their jobs say the reorganisation was launched soon after the whistleblower passed information to the then chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence. They believe the changes are aimed at getting rid of people disloyal to the department's leadership.

Some officers were dismissed as part of the reform, others left before the end of it, including people in leading positions, reports.

The high-ranking officer who was granted the whistleblower status in 2019 left the VSD before the end of the reform. The information he had supplied concerned alleged illegal actions at the department.

Darius Jauniškis, the head of the VSD, announced he was launching structural reforms at the intelligence services back in July 2020.

In March 2020, BNS disclosed the information provided to the Committee on National Security and Defence by MP Vytautas Bakas, alleging that VSD leaders had ordered thorough background checks of the team of Gitanas Nausėda, who was then running a campaign. Intelligence officers were also vetting diplomat Vygaudas Ušackas, according to the report.

The VSD rejected any accusations that it acted unlawfully.

The Committee of National Security and Defence conducted an investigation, concluding that the VSD acted within the law. However, it recommended that it change it rules and stop conducting background checks under verbal orders of its leaders.

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