November 28, 2019

Researchers Discuss the Links Between Intelligence Services and Political Change in Tallinn

A two-day international intelligence history conference will commence today in Tallinn, exploring the role of intelligence services in major political changes and commemorating the 95th anniversary of the 1924 Estonian coup attempt, which occurred on December 1.

The conference will be the 9th conference of the “Need to Know” series and will be the first time the event has been hosted in Estonia.

Nearly 40 internationally renowned researchers from 12 countries, including legendary former intelligence officer and Oxford University lecturer Michael Herman and King Good College’s head of war research Michael Goodman, will speak at the conference.

At the conference, Ivo Juurvee, research fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security and project lead in Estonia, and Lavly Perling, Attorney General of Estonia, will present for the first time an analysis of Russian intelligence activities and criminal convictions in Estonia. The analysis shows that, according to public data, Estonia has convicted more Russian spies in the last decade than any other NATO or European Union country.

“Espionage is a threat to national security. Not only do spies have to be found, but their activities have to be proven, and they have to be convicted in order to make it more difficult to recruit new traitors in the future,” explains Juurvee. “If this has been successfully done in Estonia, it should also be possible to achieve elsewhere, if there’s a will. This requires further improvement of legislation and cooperation between intelligence services.”

The analysis is now available and can be found here.

Conference presentations cover intelligence services ability to foresee major changes both domestically and abroad; plans and covert action to promote major changes; intelligence failures with respect to analysing historical events; and more.

Although the conference is on intelligence history, Juurvee says several presentations offer surprising parallels and lessons on hybrid warfare nowadays.

Additional information can be found on the conference website.

The conference is hosted by the International Centre for Defence and Security, King’s College London, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the University of Southern Denmark and the National Norwegian Aviation Museum. The event is supported by the Polish, Danish, Norwegian and UK embassies in Tallinn and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The conference will take place in the main hall of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Tallinn. The conference language is English.

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