Another example of why expanding NATO into the “former” communist bloc is not a good idea.
From the Times Online November 16
A spy at the heart of Nato may have passed secrets on the US missile shield and cyber-defence to Russian Intelligence, it has emerged.
Herman Simm, 61, an Estonian defence ministry official who was arrested in September, was responsible for handling all of his country’s classified information at Nato, giving him access to every top-secret graded document from other alliance countries.
He was recruited by the Russians in the late 1980s and has been charged in Estonia with supplying information to a foreign power.
Several investigation teams from both the EU and Nato, under the supervision of a US officer, have flown to the Estonian capital Tallinn to assess the scope of what is being seen as the most serious case of espionage against Nato since the end of the Cold War.
“The longer they work on the case, the more obvious it becomes how big the impact of the suspected treachery really is,” according to Der Spiegel magazine. A German official described the Russian penetration of Nato as a “catastrophe”…
“Simm became a proper agent for the Russian government in the mid-1990s,” says the Estonian deputy Jaanus Rahumaegi who heads the country’s parliamentary control commission for the security services.
But Mr Simm was not some relic from the days of Kim Philby or other notorious deep-cover agents. He was at the cutting edge of one of Nato’s most important new strategic missions: to defend the alliance against cyber-attack.
Mr Simm headed government delegations in bilateral talks on protecting secret data flow. And he was an important player in devising EU and Nato information protection systems…
The other important question in the Simm case is whether he was operating alone. A senior Estonian police officer claimed asylum in Britain in the 1990s reportedly telling the authorities that he was trying to escape pressure from the Russian secret service to sell secrets.
The Russians, it seems, were keen to buy as many place-men as they could: the prospect of Nato forces hard up against the northern Russian border was too alarming for the Kremlin. Moreover, Mr Simm was for many years in charge of issuing security clearance: he could have nodded through other Russian agents.