Estonia, Intelligence and Security
Estonia maintains one central intelligence and security agency, the Kaitsepolitseiamet (KPol), Security Police Board. The KPol administers intelligence gathering and information analysis, and reports its findings to the executive branch of the government. KPol governs several operational divisions, including Counterintelligence, the Security Police, the Anti-terrorism Bureau, Constitutional Protection Bureau, and Anti-Corruption Bureau. The KPol's main objective is the protection of national interests and national sovereignty. The agency seeks both domestic and foreign intelligence.
Estonia emerged as a modern, independent nation in 1920. During World War II, however, the nation was invaded by both Soviet and German forces. After the war, Estonia fell in the Soviet sphere of influence. Estonia lost its sovereignty, becoming part of the Soviet Union for four decades. In 1988, the Estonian parliament decreed the nation autonomous, but Soviet forces kept the nation from seceding for over a year. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain in 1989, Estonia began the process of regaining its status as an independent nation. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 allowed Estonia to finally reemerge as a democratic, independent nation.
The move to democracy in Estonia required extensive social, economic, and government reform. The new Estonian government sought to dissolve any remaining Soviet institutions, most especially those that were used as state-sponsored instruments of suppression, intended to quell nationalism. Estonia did not maintain its own intelligence community under Soviet rule, but had to distance its new, national intelligence agencies from the legacy of the KGB and Soviet secret police.
Corruption is a primary concern for the Estonia government. A legacy of Soviet occupation, government corruption was prevalent in the early 1990s. However, anticrime and corruption task forces, as well as intelligence surveillance of government officials, has greatly reduced the problem. Business corruption, as well as incursions into the national economy by the Russian mafia, are also targeted by KPol intelligence operations.
Today, Estonia is actively pursuing membership in several international organizations. Reforms have aided a rapid transformation of the Estonian economy. Diplomatically, Estonia gravitates toward Europe, but maintains ties with neighboring Russia.