Estonian espionage is far from an embarrassment (1)
Arvamus 01 Mar 2012  EWR
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Edward Lucas Wil(d)er Europe, European, 1 March 2012
Estonia should view the attention of Russian spies as a badge of honour.

A public spy scandal normally counts as an embarrassment. It suggests treachery by individuals in positions of trust and severe failure by those who supervise them. So many in Estonia are wincing over the arrest of an officer in the Security Police (known as Kapo), Alexei Dressen.

In 2008, one of the country's top national-security officials, Herman Simm, was arrested for treason. He is serving a 12-year prison sentence for spying for Russia, in what is often cited as one of the worst breaches of security in NATO's history. It also dented Estonia's highly polished image for clean, efficient government.

This new case threatens to be another embarrassment. Dressen was seeing off his wife as she was boarding a flight for Moscow at Tallinn airport. Prosecutors say he was carrying classified material, which she was going to take to Russia. Dressen was a 20-year veteran of Kapo, originally in a senior position but lately an investigator dealing with Russian-backed extremist groups in Estonia.

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