INTERVIEW with Roberto De Vita: Italy’s espionage scandal

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New Europe (NE): How would you outline the paperwork that the accused officer gave to the Russians? What type of entry did he should categorised paperwork?

Roberto De Vita (RDV): First, now we have to think about the kind of paperwork out there to Biot. Since the start of the case, when he was arrested, Boit was very clear that he by no means had entry to paperwork that had been deemed “state secrets” or extremely categorised. He additionally claimed to not have entry to info or paperwork that involved nationwide safety or operational actions. Biot is telling the reality on this regard. We might autonomously confirm which paperwork he might truly entry in his place. It is simple to confirm what sort of info is being transited every day from like Biot. I’ve to reiterate that when it comes to secret and categorised paperwork, there are very rigorous procedures when giving permission to people to have this entry. It is simple to confirm all this as a result of there’s a particular workplace that tracks all categorised materials that could possibly be compromised. It is feasible to concretely confirm which secret info Biot had entry to. The paperwork’ creator can simply be confirmed, in addition to who has safety clearance to entry the data. Nobody can deny this truth, and due to this, we excluded the chance that extremely delicate paperwork might have been within the arms of Biot. The seized paperwork have but to be totally scrutinized by the presiding choose. What was solely highlighted is that the paperwork are listed as ‘highly confidential’, and subsequently as an assumption, they’re alleged to be related when it comes to nationwide safety. In this case, I don’t suppose that that is the right strategy to deal with this matter. To offer you a greater clarification on this, we must always take into account what Lorenzo Guerini, the Italian Defense Minister, mentioned in entrance of the parliament’s protection committee: “The officer had a position that authorized him to see classified material, but his responsibilities did not feature command or management activities. This led him to have access to evaluation and policy documents, but not to documents for the management of operations or details about the capabilities of NATO”. This speech from the Defense Minister confirms that the safety of the nation and of NATO was by no means put at risk. The place the place Biot was working was not an operational command, and it’s not coping with strategic detailed actions, however it is just coping with insurance policies and producing analyses, however not from an intelligence viewpoint. The drawback right here is that this case began from an assumption. An Italian officer was caught in a automobile with a Russian diplomat. Without making an attempt to grasp. via completely different layers, the place the reality was. It is then vital to say that extremely categorised paperwork can’t be seen on a PC as a result of they endure one other process. They have to be printed. My shopper didn’t have permission to print them. There has been a communication mistake, firstly of this case, that had a unfavorable affect on my shopper, but additionally on public opinion at a world stage.

NE: As the Russian Embassy was concerned within the case, what was the connection between your shopper and the Russian diplomats?

RDV: First of all, there wasn’t any relationship between my shopper and the Russian citizen in query, or different nations’ embassies or consulates. Some media reported that my shopper met a Russian officer throughout a reception at an embassy, about this I can stress that Biot by no means entered a Russian Embassy or Consulate, or some other nations’ diplomatic missions. In the investigation file, this truth was by no means talked about. It was solely within the information, I don’t know then why the media mentioned that and I don’t know what their sources had been. As we are able to hint every thing, I may also exclude the chance that my shopper might have ever met the Russian official at a reception in an Italian institutional place. My shopper confirmed then that he by no means took half in such occasions. About the connection with the Russian embassy official, my shopper will clarify every thing intimately throughout the subsequent interrogation session.

NE: Do you suppose that your shopper might have been in such a tough financial state of affairs as to justify committing a probably legal act like handing over secrets and techniques to an adversary?

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Italian naval officers. FLICKR

RVD: Of course the financial state of affairs could be very tough within the household. These issues had been associated to the incapacity of his youngest daughter. This is the primary concern, however the different thought is to grasp if it was value it for him to commit this type of crime. You should know that for this crime you possibly can get a life sentence. So, if this was true, ought to we surprise why he supposedly did it for less than 5,000? The reply could be very clear, I feel.

NE: One ingredient that the media underlined was the usage of 4 completely different sim playing cards by your shopper, are you able to inform me extra about this?

RDV: It could be very easy, the sim playing cards had been registered for various relations. From the communications and from the locations the place they had been, it’s clear that they had been being utilized by his sons. Obviously, he had his personal cellphone. The different telephones had been being utilized by different relations. Sometimes folks might need a couple of sim card for varied causes.

NE: You had the prospect to debate these points with vital American journalists concerning the notion on the opposite aspect of the Atlantic concerning the suspected involvement of a NATO ally passing on secret info to the Russians concerning NATO. What is your feeling about that?

RDV: My notion is that from a NATO, but additionally from a world, viewpoint that they took into consideration this case because it was offered by Italy. Everything about this case is definitely an earthquake for worldwide relations, and it’s all taking place in Italy. I nonetheless haven’t learn any particular information from the US or different NATO nations concerning the state of affairs. All I’ve learn are tales about wanting to grasp. At the identical time, I felt, in Italy, there have been quite a lot of feelings even earlier than anybody understood the true details. Even Ambassador Gianpiero Massolo, who was Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared that there couldn’t have been any harm to NATO or nationwide safety. Also, from the Russian aspect, there was all the time a quiet perspective about the entire state of affairs. From east to west, there was an instantaneous understanding that this concern could possibly be downplayed. 

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