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The Estonian Spy

Today Russia lost another espionage asset in Estonia, demonstrating the ongoing recruitment of foreign spies and purchase of state secrets on behalf of the FSB – Cold War style.  Seems like these kinds of treason cases involving Russia are on the uptick.

Herman Simm, the former head of security at the Estonian Defense Ministry, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison in a trial that was kept secret until the verdict was announced Wednesday.

The Harju County Court didn’t specify which country the 61-year-old handed the secrets to, but investigators later said he passed on nearly 3,000 documents to Russia.

“Starting from 1995 until his arrest in 2008, Herman Simm collected and forwarded classified Estonian and NATO information — hundreds of pages — to the Russian foreign intelligence service,” said Norman Aas, Estonia’s chief prosecutor. “Also, he passed on personal information on some Estonian individuals, something that may damage Estonia’s interests.”

Most of the documents concerned Estonia’s defense policy, defense systems and foreign relations, but they also included information on NATO communication systems, investigators said, adding they have been working with the alliance on the case. Estonia joined NATO in 2004.

In a brief statement, the court said Simm was also sentenced to pay 20.2 million kroons ($1.7 million) in damages to the Estonian Defense Ministry.