A sign outside the temporary head office of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) in Katajanokka, Helsinki, on 19 January 2024. Two Supo officials are suspected of malfeasance in connection with counter-intelligence operations, according to reports in the Finnish media on Tuesday. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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A CRIMINAL INQUIRY has been opened into suspected malfeasance linked to intelligence operations at the Finnish Armed Forces and Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo), report Iltalehti and Helsingin Sanomat.

The pre-trial investigation was ordered by the deputy prosecutor general.

“The data security ombudsman submitted a request for inquiry on the matter with the office of the deputy prosecutor general in February. The deputy prosecutor general has opened an inquiry into the matter,” a spokesperson at Supo told YLE on Tuesday.

“Supo has at no point had reason to believe that anyone has worked for a foreign state, but the objective of the operations has at all times been to guarantee national security. The inquiry will now determine whether the operational methods have been lawful.”

Iltalehti on Tuesday reported that the deputy prosecutor general is investigating the actions of Pertti Haaksluoto, the chief of counter-intelligence operations at Supo, and Antti Pelttari, the director general of Supo in 2011–2023. The investigation, it added, relates to the legality of informant activities and a computer break-in that resulted in the disclosure of classified information to third parties.

Haaksluoto has been suspended from duty due to the suspicions, according to information obtained by Iltalehti. Pelttari is presently the secretary general of the Finnish Parliament.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday wrote that Supo has suspended from duty a superintendent, the title of the officer in charge of counter-intelligence operations. It could not, though, confirm whether or not the suspended officer is Haaksluoto.

Both newspapers wrote that the suspension took effect on 23 April.

Helsingin Sanomat reported that it has obtained documents pertaining to the suspension but that they have been edited to remove names and other identifying information on the superintendent. While the superintendent denied in interrogations to having committed any offences, they recognised the grounds for the suspension.

“As far as I see, the service as an employer doesn’t have too many options here, and in effect this suspicion makes it impossible to perform the duties in question,” they remarked according to the newspaper.

Helsingin Sanomat wrote about two internal inquiries at Supo in April. According to Iltalehti, the internal processes were launched after a Russian television show broadcast claims made by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) about Russian “spies” recruited by Supo. The show indicated that the informants were handled by a “counter-intelligence veteran who had retired years ago from Supo.

Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (PS) declined to comment on any details of the case when reached by YLE on Tuesday. She did estimate, however, that the inquiry indicates that the system is functioning properly.

“If there are some kind of suspicions about the legality of actions, then of course the matter has to be investigated,” she remarked. “Supo is perfectly capable of operating at the moment. Now we’ll naturally have to wait and see what the inquiry finds and draw conclusions after it.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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