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Helsingin Sanomat has come under criticism from readers and policy makers alike for publishing an article detailing the staff and operations of the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency in Tikkakoski, Central Finland, on Saturday.
Helsingin Sanomat has come under criticism from readers and policy makers alike for publishing an article detailing the staff and operations of the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency in Tikkakoski, Central Finland, on Saturday.

 

The National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) has revealed that it is investigating a possible disclosure of national secrets in connection with an article published by Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday.

“The pre-trial investigation will also deal with whether or not security-related secrets, the disclosure of which is prone to cause serious damage to the national defence and security of Finland, have been published or disclosed in public on insufficient grounds,” a KRP spokesperson announced on Twitter.

Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday published an article based on classified documents leaked several years ago detailing the staff and operations of the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency (VKoeL) in Tikkakoski, Central Finland.

The newspaper argued that the publication of the information was justified on grounds that citizens and policy makers have a very limited understanding of the nature of the operations of the secretive agency. The information, it wrote, is crucial particularly because lawmakers are currently drafting legislative amendments that would expand the powers of both VKoeL and the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo).

The article provoked an unusual response from several policy makers, including President Sauli Niinistö and Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö (BR).

“Disclosing the contents of documents with the highest security clearance level is critical for our security and may cause serious damage,” stated President Niinistö.

Kaius Niemi, the senior editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, admitted yesterday in an open letter that the newspaper failed to explain to its readers why it decided to publish information that according to some could pose a threat to national security.

“Not enough attention was called to the factors that justified the publication of the article in advance – especially, how the contents of the article relates to the intelligence legislation under preparation,” he wrote.

Niemi also underscored that only certain segments of the classified documents were used in the article, and only after careful consideration.

“If the article had justified the use of classified information in a more understandable way, it would have helped readers link the information presented in the story to the drafting of intelligence legislation. We clearly failed to do that.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva

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