Police have searched the home of one of the two journalists who shed light on the operations of the Finnish Defence Intelligence Agency (VKoeL) in Saturday’s Helsingin Sanomat.
Helsingin Sanomat reports that a total of four police officers conducted the house search between 6.30pm and 10.30pm on Sunday, seizing a number of personal items – such as a laptop, mobile phone, tablet computer and several flash drives – belonging to the journalist, Laura Halminen.
The officers, who said the house search was conducted on grounds of a suspected disclosure of national secrets, had no court-issued search warrant, Halminen told Helsingin Sanomat.
She also said the officers behaved appropriately.
Kaius Niemi, the senior editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, estimates that it is “outright exceptional” for a journalist to be subjected to a house search of such magnitude in Finland – a country that has profiled itself as a leader in press freedom.
“I believe these events are very disconcerting when it comes to the operational preconditions of the press and the protection of sources [in Finland],” he comments.
The National Bureau of Investigation announced earlier that it has opened a pre-trial investigation into a possible disclosure of national secrets in connection with the article published by Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday. Referencing classified documents leaked several years ago, the article shed light on the staff and operations of VKoeL in Tikkakoski, Central Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva