The protection of state secrets is a complex set of measures aimed at safeguarding state secrets and preventing their illegal dissemination, disclosure or use.
In order to maintain the control of the measures of protecting state secrets, Latvian State Security Service (VDD) conducts the checks on the circulation of state secrets according to the requirements within the institutions supervised by VDD and also consults the respective institutions on protection of state secrets and safeguarding their circulation.
VDD issues the second and third category security clearances for work with state secrets, which correspond respectively the classification level secret and confidential. The security clearances are issued to those national or municipality authorities whose work responsibilities stipulate access to state secrets. In case of necessity, VDD also provides support in vetting process for security clearances of first category – top secret (issued by SAB). In parallel, VDD conducts the verification for industrial security certificates to be issued to businessmen. The industrial security certificate is required for providing goods and services in the institutions related to state secrets. The decision about the issuance of the industrial security certificate is made by SAB.
The following information is considered as a state secret:
- information regarding state military potential, defence strategy and tactics, and plans for defence and mobilization;
- information regarding the armament, communications and information systems, material and technical facilities of intelligence and security services and their purchase;
- information regarding the defence and evacuation plans, layout of structures, installations, facilities and other sites significant for national security and defence;
- information regarding the types and amount of products manufactured for national security and defence purposes, as well as the potential of the facilities;
- information regarding ciphers, ciphering systems and equipment;
- information regarding the organisation, content, tactics and methods of operational activities, intelligence and counterintelligence activities, as well as persons involved in the operational activities, and persons involved in the protection of special procedural protection;
- information regarding the structure and the location of structural units of intelligence and security services;
- information regarding the action plans of the structural units of the Ministry of the Interior and the intelligence and security services in case of exceptional circumstances, in case of mass riots or regarding special operations in the fight against organised crime;
- information regarding the amount, location and holders (keepers) of national material reserves;
- information regarding the storage and transportation of state currency and bullion reserves;
- information regarding the organisation of the protection, the security measures and technical equipment applied in order to ensure the dignitary protection;
- information regarding the scientific research activity, discoveries, inventions important for national security, when carried out with state support;
- information regarding separate directions of state foreign policy and external economic relations of strategic significance;
- information regarding the means and techniques for the protection of official secrets;
- information regarding classified information received from foreign states.
Access to confidential, secret or top secret documents can be acquired only by an official who needs the classified information for fulfilling his or her service duties. The officials having the clearance for work with state secrets are allowed to see only the classified information needed for fulfilling direct service duties (“need to know” principle).
The security clearance is issued to the person who is the citizen of the Republic of Latvia and is at least 18 years old, having no guardianship, who has signed a non-disclosure agreement that he/she undertakes to keep and not illegally disclose the state secret and who has agreed with the security and intelligence services that they conduct the vetting and the measures for protecting state secrets.
The access to the state secrets is denied to a person who:
- has renounced the citizenship of the Republic of Latvia;
- whose legal capacity is limited pursuant to the current legislation;
- has been held liable for crime and been convicted of an intentional criminal offence as well as for disclosure of state secrets through negligence, except for the cases when he or she has been rehabilitated;
- who is or has been a staff employee or a non-staff employee of the security service, intelligence or counterintelligence service of the USSR, Latvian S.S.R. or a foreign state other than the member states of the European Union or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or an agent, resident or safe-house keeper thereof;
- after 13 January 1991, has worked within Communist Party of Latvia, the Working People's International Front of the Latvian S.S.R., the United Council of Labour Collectives, the Organisation of War and Labour Veterans or the All-Latvia Salvation of Society Committee;
- has caused doubt about his or her reliability and the ability to keep state secrets, that has been established during the vetting checks;
- is in the records of the medical treatment institutions due to alcoholism, addiction to narcotics, psychotropic or toxic substances or mental illnesses.
A security clearance shall be cancelled if a person has been released from office (work) related to the use or protection of state secrets; a person has violated the procedures stipulated by law for work with state secrets, the use or protection thereof; or it has become known that under specific circumstances a person is prohibited to conduct his/her work or it has been established that a person has intentionally provided false information regarding himself or herself.
If the security clearance of an official or employee is cancelled or the term of validity of the special permit is not extended, it shall be a sufficient reason to believe that this person does not conform to the position held (work to be performed) which is related to the use or protection of state secrets.
Every person who has been refused the post related to state secrets has the right to appeal against this decision.
Person may appeal against a decision regarding refusal to issue a security clearance, its annulment or lowering of its category to the Prosecutor General within 14 days of the notification. The review against the decision of Prosecutor General can be submitted within 14 days of its notification to the Administrative District Court. The appeal and review do not halt the decision from entering into force, nor does the request of the person.