President denies request to declassify cannabis meeting documents

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 17, 2017 09:50
President Ilir Meta

President Ilir Meta

TIRANA, Nov. 10 – Two days after a request put forward by lawmakers of the Democratic Party and the Socialist Movement for Integration to publish classified documents from a National Security Council meeting tied to the war on cannabis and organized crime, President Ilir Meta has declined to act, saying it would cause long-term damage to the country’s security institutions.

The request, coming mainly from opposition representatives, was based on the tense political climate the country is facing, especially after strong allegations towards the government on its alleged ties with narcotics’ trafficking in the Tahiri-Habilaj case.

The DP and SMI specifically requested the publication of information exchanged during a meeting held on Nov. 11, 2016, which reportedly focused on the cannabis situation in the country.

The meeting was led by former President Bujar Nishani, while former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri was also present. DP and SMI deputies claim that information concerning the implication of high-rank police officials with organized crime groups was discussed during that meeting.  

In denying the request, Meta argued that the request was not in line with the legal package, which deems the data published by various state institutions as classified information that could potentially harm the long-term functionality of the National Security Council, despite the positive intentions of particular social or political groups.

“I deem that the declassification and publication of the content of the National Security Council’s meetings (which has never happened) would constitute a precedent with long-term consequences for the functionality of the National Security Council (NSC),” Meta said in his explanation.

Another argument put forward was that the data discussed during NSC meetings included information concerning the cooperation between Albania and international partnering countries and institutions, to which the standard of protecting classified material should be provided.  

However, Meta also added that the lawmakers had a right to attain information, according to the law, and use it for investigation purposes, without making it public.

“The Institution of the General Prosecutor can request and use for investigation purposes the information from the NSC’s meetings in a way defined by the law,” Meta said.  

Until there is enough evidence suggesting that the data and information discussed during the meeting can help the investigation process, Meta said that the main aim of the institution he runs is to create an environment of trust among the participants of NSC meetings.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 17, 2017 09:50