Spying in Norway reaches "all-time high"

Spying in Norway reaches "all-time high"
Spying in Norway reaches "all-time high" 

Aftenposten's reporters
Arild M Jonassen
Per Kristian AAle
Aftenposten English Web Desk
Catherine Stein
February 9 2008

Russian agents in Norway have reached levels as high as during the Cold 
War, warns the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST).

Many other countries also have spies in Norway, climbing to a record 
number following a quiet period during the 1990s.

"Im not going to comment on individual countries, but there are more 
countries active [in espionage] in Norway than people would think," PST 
chief Jrn Holme told Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

Holme said unnamed sources indicate that Russian espionage activity is 
at an "all-time high", and other countries have also stepped up their 
activities in Norway.

Russia and other countries are said to be interested in Norway because 
of its strategic geographical position and its offshore technological 

Also said to play a role are unresolved border issues between Russian 
and Norway regarding natural resources.

However, researcher Jakub Godzimirski of the Norwegian Institute of 
International Affairs (NUPI) says Russia does not view Norway as a 
military threat.

"Seen from Moscows perspective, Norway is interesting because it is a 
member of NATO and the Kremlin sees Norway as an American outpost," 
Godzimirski told Aftenposten.

"In addition, Norway is a significant gas and oil exporter," he said. 
"In the gas sector, the two countries compete in the same markets in 

Godzimirski says that while modern technology is used to get access to 
technical expertise, classic spy methods are also being employed, in 
which foreign agents actively recruit Norwegians through personal 

"One of our functions is to stop good Norwegians before they get pulled 
into these agents networks," said Godzimirski.

Recruitment can occur without the person being aware of it, according to 
PST chief Holme.

He also confirms that foreign countries are engaged in industrial 
espionage in Norway.

Meanwhile, press attach Jevgenij Kolesnikov at the Russian Embassy in 
Oslo denies the accusations about increased spying. He says the 
relationship between the two countries has improved greatly and calls 
the PST statements "ungrounded and a repeat from the Cold War days."

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