Skip to content

Finnish intelligence service carries out more security clearances due to war

According to Supo, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has spurred some organisations to more actively seek background checks.

Kuvassa on suojelupoliisin päämaja Helsingin Punavuoressa osoitteessa Ratakatu 12 syyskuussa 2020.
The headquarters of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) on Ratakatu in central Helsinki (file photo). Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) announced on Friday that it carried out more security clearances on individuals and firms last year as a direct result of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Last year, Supo performed some 97,000 background checks, up from about 90,000 the year before.

According to Supo, Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine changed Finland's operating environment, prompting some organisations to more actively seek background checks.

"Without Russia's war of aggression, the increase would not have been this big. It is good that those who work in key positions in terms of national security in Finland have valid security clearances," Ilkka Hanski, head of Supo's security clearance unit, said in a press release.

Only about 400 in-depth probes

According to Supo, only 406 of the background checks that it carried out last year were classified as "extensive security investigations".

Some 20,000 of the other probes were direct follow-ups to previous clearances of the same individuals.

The agency said that despite the larger volumes of checks, the average processing time remained under 35 days.

In addition to the war in Ukraine, the number of security clearances also reflects a change in security clearance legislation based on a revised EU aviation law that came into effect in 2020. That reform requires more airport employees to undergo security clearances.

Supo said that the main point of its security checks is to prevent information that is essential to Finland's security from falling into the wrong hands and to assess individuals' reliability.

Last autumn, Supo said that there was more interest in Finland from foreign intelligence services, partly related to its plans to join Nato.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia