Norwegian police indentify Russian intelligence targets

Norwegian security services are of high interest for Russian spies, according to PST. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Norwegian security services are of high interest for Russian spies, according to PST. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
“We assess Russia’s capacity for and intention to carry out espionage against Norway as having the greatest potential for harming Norway and the Norwegian interest,” says Benedicte Bjørnland, Chief of Norwegian Police Security Service (PST).

PST presented its annual national threat assessment on Tuesday.

“The activities of Russian intelligence service are partly steered by long-term Russian security interests,” the Norwegian security service writes in the report.

Defence, security & preparedness

The Norwegian counter-intelligence claims that areas such as defence, security and preparedness are target for Russian agents. Norway’s capacity in these areas is subject of continual surveillance, according to the report.

PST fears the results of such intelligence activity could ultimately threaten key Norwegian interests and Norway’s control over its own territory.

In addition to Russia, PST names China when describing foreign intelligence activities in Norway.

Responding to threat

The report more than hints that foreign states send agents to Norway hided as diplomats. “[Intelligence personnel] are mainly officers posted to Norway in a diplomatic capacity at the foreign embassy or consulate.”

PST writes that the main task for those officers are to establish relations of trust with Norwegian individuals who can provide sensitive information.

Without naming Russia in particular, PST says certain intelligence services work very actively and make use of all available tools to achieve results.

“This includes extensive use of operations to spread information and propaganda and influence opinion in other countries, with a view to weakening confidence in the authorities of the target state or sowing division between population groups or regions. Such methods are used particularly in periods of security policy tension, and Norway should be prepared for this eventuality,” the Norwegian Police Security Service writes in its annual national threat assesment.

The Independent Barents Observer has asked for a comment from the Russian Embassy in Oslo, but has so far not got any reply.

Related stories from around the North:

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland: Finland confirms 6th Russian airspace violation in just over a year, Yle News

Norway: Norway must ramp up military in response to Russia: report, Barents Observer

Russia:  New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network



Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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