Finnish police have raided the house of the journalist behind an explosive report on Helsinki’s extensive spying on Russian military. The reporter is said to have destroyed a computer hard drive with a hammer before the raid.
The raid was confirmed by the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, which had earlier published the report on Finland’s long-running spy program. On Sunday evening, officers searched the home of Laura Halminen – one of the authors behind the explosive article. They seized her computer, private and corporate mobile phones, iPad, and several USB flash drives. According to the newspaper, the police did not have a search warrant.
Halminen said that she had destroyed the hard drive on her computer with a hammer earlier on Sunday, so that police would not be able to track the source of the report. “I wanted to destroy the computer to ensure that the source of the information is well-protected,” she said.
Kaius Niemi, Helsingin Sanomat senior editor-in-chief, said it is “outright exceptional” for a journalist to be subjected to a house search in Finland. “I believe these events are very disconcerting when it comes to the operational preconditions of the press and the protection of sources [in Finland],” he said.
Meanwhile, Helsingin Sanomat faces a criminal investigation over the leaking of the secret papers. “Exposing the content of highly classified documents is critical to our security and could result in serious damage,” Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said in a statement.
The article focuses on a signal surveillance complex in the city of Tikkakoski in central Finland. It based its findings on top-secret documents, some of which date back as far as 1999. The center has been allegedly tasked with detecting Russian military movements in the St. Petersburg region based on electromagnetic radiation.
Special attention was drawn to Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline project, laid under the Baltic Sea and running from Vyborg to the coast city of Greifswald in northeast Germany.
RT has contacted Helsingin Sanomat newspaper and the Finnish police for comment. At the time of publication, neither had responded to the request.