The Latvian internal security service, the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) has stripped State Chancellery head Elita Dreimane of her clearance for access to state secrets, making her job untenable, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma revealed after a meeting of coalition parties Monday.
"The State Chancellery and its head work with classified information, and if the head is not able to work with this information, such a model is not sustainable," said Straujuma.
The prime minister confirmed that on Monday she received information from SAB, saying that Dreimane has been stripped of permission to access state secrets. Her deputy Inese Gailite will work with the classified information and a new tender will be announced for the position of the State Chancellery head.
The State Chancellery is a central public administration institution directly subordinated to the Prime Minister.
Dreimane is its top-ranked official, appointed to and dismissed from the post by the Cabinet upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Dreimane, who was appointed as head of the Chancellery under Straujuma's predecessor Valdis Dombrovskis in 2011, has been at the government headquarters for 20 years, and may appeal SAB's decision in ten days.
In 2008 she received two awards for "honest work" and "outstanding contribution to the development of public administration."
Straujuma said she was aware of the reasons Dreimane had her security clearance revoked, but said she would not disclose them.
On Friday, Dreimane was the target of criticism from journalists after it was alleged she ordered the expulsion from a government building of reporters trying to question her about her security status.
The sudden turnaround in Dreimane's fortunes is striking. As recently as March 20, she was leading a high-level meeting of public administration officials attended by the leading experts on public administration from European Union Member States, Norway, Turkey and the European Commission under the auspices of Latvia's EU Presidency at which she said: "The greatest asset of the public administration is the people who provide services, develop draft legal acts and modernise public governance."
On January 20, Dreimane's signature was one of four signed by public administration, NGOs, law enforcement institutions and anti-corruption bodies on drafting a legal framework (draft law) in order to implement legal protection for whistle-blowers.
Days earlier she had also presented proposals for strengthening anti-corruption efforts in Latvia, making her apparent fall from favor even more surprising.