CIA Given Free Hand in Lithuania
Nil NIKANDROV | 06.12.2013 | OPINION

CIA Given Free Hand in Lithuania

«Irina» is from Kaliningrad. She was recruited with the help of blackmail and threats. The NTV documentary Call Agent is based on her confession. The film reveals the methods of work employed by the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania. At first they wanted her to operate on the territory of the Kaliningrad region, the Russian exclave sandwiched between Lithuania, Poland and the Baltic Sea, but then the plans changed. The Lithuanian secret service curators tasked «Irina» with gathering information to discredit Lithuanian politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists and diplomats. She conducted her activities under the guidance of former Lithuanian consul in Kaliningrad Mindaugas Jaskevicius and the head of security service Renatas Pyatkus among others. The both men are on the CIA’s payroll. There are other Central Intelligence Agency’s informers in the Lithuanian State Security Department ranks. 

Years have passed since Lithuania became independent but Washington still harbors doubts about political reliability of the country’s political elite… It’s not excluded that someone may be secretly working for Moscow or «Belarusian dictator» Lukashenko. Even if it is not so, still the discrediting information on Lithuanian politicians and military received from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Lithuanian State Security Department is often used by Americans to influence the Lithuanian ruling circles. «Irina» told about the missions she was assigned, the task was to create delicate situations to discredit former presidents and prime-ministers close to incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite, as well as promising politicians and military. Everything was thoroughly copied and transferred to Americans. 

The issue of a free hand that the Central Intelligence Agency is given in Lithuania hit the media pages for the first time after the revelations about the CIA secret jails on the Lithuanian territory. CIA special flights brought those who were suspected of being affiliated with Al Qaeda into Lithuania in 2002 – 2006. They were tortured by CIA and Lithuanian State Security Department operatives. After the disclosures infiltrated media outlets, the jails were closed and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo. The Lithuanian authorities undermine the Amnesty International efforts to establish the truth under the pretext of protecting national state secrets. The Lithuanian state General Prosecutor closed the case in 2011. That’s what the CIA residence in Vilnius wanted: to prevent the leaks of information and any names mentioned, especially those of US agents involved in the operation. 

Since 1990s the Lithuanian intelligence and counterintelligence were formed under the American tutorship. Almost all Lithuanian operatives have received training in US centers. The same applies to all other state law enforcement and power agencies – military intelligence, drug control etc. It has become routine for US special services to employ Lithuanian operatives for carrying out risky missions, especially on the territories of Russia and Belarus. The confessions by Lithuanian agents captured in the Kaliningrad region reveal they worked for the CIA. The slogans calling for democratization and liberalization of dozens of non-government organizations with headquarters in Lithuania are used for destabilization of situation in Belarus. Today Lithuania harbors one of the largest Central Intelligence Agency residences. Its address is United States Embassy, Akmenų, g. 6 Vilnius, Lithuania, LT-03106. In the Kaliningrad region the efforts are concentrated on fomenting separatist trends and providing funds to local politicians who support the idea of achieving «autonomy». Today they are keeping still waiting for their time to come. Off and on they make float the idea of «renaming» Kaliningrad, the idea that seems to be innocuous at first glance. The options proposed are always the same: Konigsberg, Krulevec, and Karaliaučius. Enterpreneur Sergey Pasko, former leader of Baltic Republican Party, openly states that „we cannot be in Europe» without changing the name of the region. The organization lost its official status as a political party on 26 March 2003 due to the new Russian Law on political parties which requires that each party should have regional branches at least in half of the Russian Federation constituencies and at least 10,000 members in strength. According to Pasko, Kaliningrad is separated from Russia and is situated on the territory of the European Union, so it has to abide by the European Union‘s laws. 

The Baltic Republican Party advocates support the Euromaidan in Kiev. As the Baltic Republican Party’s website informs, «mass actions of active and resolute citizens hit the streets in Ukraine. They strive for the joining Europe in future and are ready to fight for it, because they feel like Europeans and have a feeling of self-respect. The regionalists of Prussia (!) express their solidarity with all the Ukrainians who have made their choice and do not bow to the Kremlin’s pressure». 

The new Lithuanian law on intelligence has been worked out with the covert participation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. The Lithuanian State Security Department’s press-release says the document is in force since January 2013. Not a word about the United States participation, only praising the outstanding qualities of the paper, which for the first time defines the missions of the intelligence and the ways they should be carried out. Only leaders of state security service local departments operate openly. The rank and file operatives work under the cover of commercial firms and other organizations. 

In October 2012 the Lithuanian parliament (Seym) approved the law giving secret services «green light» to put any person under three days surveillance without a court’s ruling. It can be sanctioned by the head of law enforcement agency or his (her) deputy. According to the law on criminal activities, surveillance includes human intelligence, searches, eavesdropping, ambushes, controlled supplies, acting under cover to reveal violations of law. As the Lithuanian opposition members of parliament say, the law provides no guarantees on prevention of abuses. No matter «purges» or ranks cleansing actions take place from time to time, corruption, blackmail, extortion and use of funds for private purposes are still features of life in the Lithuanian secret services. This is the basis the relationship with the US Central Intelligence Agency is built on. 

US ambassador Deborah McCarthy does her best to guarantee the most favorable conditions for the Central Intelligence Agency. Her career path shows she has seen the most unusual assignments, too many of them for her to be a «pure» State Department official. For instance, she has been an advisor on anti-drug trafficking operations and a senior consultant on the fight against terrorism. To large extent her biography is classified. In the period of 2006-2008 McCarthy was a «special coordinator» for Venezuelan affairs to have access to the classified information related to this country. In 2008-2010 she served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Athens at the time the situation in Greece greatly worsened because of financial and economic crisis: the US offices were under threat those days. Talking about the US embassy in Lithuania, intelligence activities are conducted under the control of Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Silberstein, Public Affairs Officer and Joseph A. Hamilton, Consular Officer. The conditions for work are rather comfortable, except the cases when having a drop too much local «tough guys» show who calls the shots in Lithuania to those who has arrived to work for NATO. The burden of operational activities is on the rise. The Baltic States special services are assigned the strategic missions: to undermine the geopolitical influence of Russia in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, strengthen the position of the European Union, facilitate the process of post-Soviet space disintegration with the help of special operations within the framework of Eastern Partnership project. 

Since recently the Central Intelligence Agency’s Lithuanian office has to deal with providing for the activities of non-government organizations in Ukraine which support the ongoing protests and organize resounding actions against «Russia’s interference into the internal affairs of Ukraine». They also counter «Russian propaganda». For instance, NTV channel was synchronously switched off a few minutes before it was to air the documentary Call Agent across the Baltic States.

Tags: CIA  Lithuania  Russia  US 

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