Two ministers still lack security clearance

Take note – story published 9 years ago

In a repeat of circumstances that caused embarrassment to the first government of Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, LTV reported Tuesday night that two ministers in her second cabinet have yet to receive full security clearance, a full two months after they took up their positions.

Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) and the Minister for Health Guntis Belēvičs (Greens and Farmers Union) have yet to be cleared by state security services for access to top-level secrets.

The news is particularly surprising in Gerhards' case as he has previously served in one of government's more sensitive roles as Transport Minister in 2009-10. 

The Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) and the Security Police (DP) are responsible for vetting ministers and establishing what level of security clearance they will be given. 

Until full clearance is given - if at all - ministers find themselves in the embarrassing position of having to leave the room when their higher-clearance cabinet colleagues are discussing matters of national security.

Establishing security clearance takes up to 90 days and does not start until the cabinet is formed - meaning all governments start with a three month period during which one or more ministers may be operating under restriction.

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said on January 6: "I do not think there will be any problems," regarding the security clearances.

However, according to LTV's Panorama evening news show, clearance has not yet been given to Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Gerhards and the Minister for Health Belevics.

Straujuma's first cabinet was compromised by the repeated inability of Justice Minister Baiba Broka (National alliance) to obtain security clearance despite the highly sensitive nature of her job.

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