Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 69

A briefcase with secret documents was stolen yesterday during pre-dawn hours from the car of a counterintelligence officer of Latvia’s Defense Ministry. Some of the documents were then found scattered outside a nightclub. The officer, identified as Voldemars Pavlovskis, was immediately suspended from duty for having violated service regulations concerning the protection of secret documents (BNS, April 8).

In an unrelated case, which also surfaced yesterday, government officials announced the dismissal of the head of the Security Police, a division of the Internal Affairs Ministry. That senior officer, identified as Aleksandrs Halturins, was concurrently serving as his ministry’s representative on the interagency Strategic Goods Control Commission. The government determined that Halturins, as a former KGB officer, was not entitled to access to state secrets (BNS, April 8).

These are the latest episodes in a series of security lapses which have occurred since the recent change of government. In January, the main governing party’s spokesman was dismissed after forging an “interview” with NATO’s Secretary General Javier Solana. In February and March, Constitutional Protection Office (CPO) Director Lainis Kamaldins managed–apparently with some powerful political support–to win renomination to another term of office, despite his poor track record and a low performance rating by the president. On April 6-7, an explosion slightly damaged a Jewish Holocaust memorial in Riga. The incident, while minor, served as a reminder of the firebombing of the main Riga synagogue exactly a year ago–a politically subversive act which the CPO, the main internal security agency, failed to resolve. Possibly because of that failure, Kamaldins last month insinuated publicly that the Jewish community had firebombed its own synagogue. The faux-pas did not stop his prompt renomination to the top internal security post (see the Monitor, March 19, 22).