2 April: The United States Department of Defence has signed a new intelligence co-operation agreement with Lithuania through to 2024. This is part of bolstering the US presence in the Baltic States which are seen as a key target for a Russian “velvet takeover” i.e. by increasingly destabilising the countries through cyber and other means. The US has agreed to provide funds to strengthen Lithuania’s intelligence and surveillance capability as well as providing a range of military support. The announcement stressed that the two countries would “work closely in the cyber domain, looking to deter and defend against malicious cyber intrusions and attacks.” A new cyber operations centre will be built with American support.
Lithuania has a strong recent record of co-operation with US intelligence services. In October 2011, Lithuania was taken to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that it co-operated with the CIA in its extraordinary rendition programme and provided “Black Site” torture facilities.