Terrorists and spies threaten national security

Three Norwegian intelligence and security institutions have for the first time published an open common threat evaluation.

Espionage did not disappear with the cold war. There is a continuing high level of activity by foreign intelligence services in Norway, the latest threat evaluation shows. Terrorism is still the biggest threat to the national security.


The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), the Intelligence Service and the National Security Authority (NSM) have for the first time prepared a common, open threat evaluation. The evaluation was presented on Monday by Minister of Justice Grete Faremo, Minister of Defense Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen and head of PST Benedicte Bjørnland.

“We are not facing one uniform threat – the picture is complex and complicated”, Faremo said at a press conference on Monday. “That is why this document contains the three institutions’ evaluations of threats from international terrorism, political motivated violence, right-wing extremism, anti-islamic and left-wing communities, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, intelligence activities and cyberspace”.

Several foreign governments are actively and continuously spying on Norway and Norwegian interests. Their spying is directed at many targets, especially within defense, security and preparedness but also business and politics.

“The geopolitical development and an increasingly harder global competition to ensure economic growth are among the forces behind the activity of these [foreign intelligence] services in our country”, the evaluation reads. The document does not name any specific countries that are involved in spying against Norway.

The intelligence services use all kinds of human and technological collection. They employ agents, recruited persons or persons employed in public or private sectors. Several foreign intelligence services have capacity for bugging and even network attacks, the document reads.

Anti-terror center to be established
The “terror challenge” has risen in Norway, with persons and organizations inspired by “extremist Islamic ideology” comprising the most serious threat in 2013.  Other extremists on both the right and the left are also a major concern, the threat evaluation states. This has prompted the government to set up an anti-terror center led by PST.

The center will be manned by people from PST and the Intelligence Service, and the aim is to make the most of the two institutions’ total analytic capacities by are working together under one roof, the Ministry of Justice’s web site reads. The new anti-terror center will be in place by the end of the year.

PST, NSM and the Intelligency Service will continue to publish open threat evaluations annually.