Ministers still lack clearance to access secret information

Three government ministers from the KPV LV political party still have not received clearance from the security services to access secret materials, LSM's Latvian language service reported April 16.

The news came as Minister of Welfare Ramona Petraviča was interviewed on LTV Tuesday morning during which she revealed that she plus Minister of the Interior Sandis Girģens and Minister of Economics Ralf Nemiro - have not received the necessary clearance to access state secrets.

Such a situation would appear to be particularly challenging in the case of Girģens, whose ministry includes responsibility for sensitive areas that tend to generate classified material such as the Border Guard, State Security Service and Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

Ironically, one of the State Security Service's responsibilities is "issuing second and third category security clearances for work with state secrets."

However, in the case of ministers, the clearance checks are conducted by the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) which "performs personnel security vetting in order to grant and renew personnel security clearances (PSC) for access to official secrets and also checks and accredits premises to be used in work with classified information."  

KPV LV has in the past criticized the way the system works, saying it gives the security services an effective veto over political representation. 

LSM reported in January that six ministers were still awaiting security clearance.

At the moment there is no public information on whether a fourth minister, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Juris Pūce (Development/For!), has been granted clearance for access to state secrets. 

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has said in the past that ministers refused clearance to access state secrets might have to be replaced. 

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