Bill Totten's Weblog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Major spy scandal ...

... as five Scandinavian governments catch the US watching their citizens.

Mail Foreign Service (November 15 2010)

America has been accused of illegally spying on hundreds of people in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

Officials in the five countries expressed their unhappiness at surveillance tactics that were conducted without the knowledge of the individual nations' governments.

America claims officials informed the Norwegian government about the operation which was aimed at terror suspects.

In other instances, it has stated it has 'nothing to hide'. But Danish security services have stated they will begin an investigation into the matter if evidence of illegal surveillance is uncovered.

The diplomatic dispute erupted on November 3 when Norwegian media outlet TV2 screened a report stating that a group of US agents has been surveilling fifteen to twenty Norwegian for ten years, mostly at various rallies.

It stated potential terrorists were photographed, and the information was sent to Washington, to prevent terrorist attacks against US embassies.

A spokesman of the US State Department, Philip Crowley, said that the Norwegian authorities were notified about their covert operation.

'We are implementing the program throughout the world and are vigilant against people who can keep track of our embassies, as we understand that our diplomatic missions are a potential target', said Mr Crowley.

However, Norway disagrees and a representative of the American embassy was called to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for an explanation, according to Russian online newspaper Pravda.

When the Norwegian case became public knowledge, Denmark also raised its concerns about the surveillance of its citizens.

Danish newspaper Politiken claimed that all American embassies have surveillance teams to address threats to the US security.

Former head of the Danish security service PET Jorgen Bonniksen said that he had never heard of such groups:

If this is true, then we have to deal with illegal intelligence operations in Denmark.

On Danish territory such operations can be conducted by PET, and PET only.

The current head of PET, Jakob Scharf, said that if illegal activity is determined, 'of course, we will take action'.

Sweden followed suit, with Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask stating US Embassy staff in Stockholm have been spying on people there since 2000.

The head of the Stockholm's security police, Anders Danielsson, directly accused the US of violating international norms, stating,

The Swedish security police (SAPO) did not give the US a permission to engage in activities that are contrary to Swedish law.

Again the US said it had notified Sweden of its actions, but representatives also said they 'have nothing to hide'.

Finland weighed last week when authorities in Helsinki declared that they did not believe American reassurances that there was no illegal activity.

Iceland completed the picture in Scandinavia when it declared that it suspected members of the American Embassy in Reykjavik of espionage.

'There is nothing surprising here', intelligence expert and author Alexander Kolpakidi told

US intelligence services have always behaved that way around the globe.

Virtually all countries of the world, including the members of European Union and NATO, have secret CIA tracking stations.

Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

(c) Associated Newspapers Ltd

Bill Totten


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