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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Delegations more at risk of being spied upon

More delegations of Norwegian politicians and government bureaucrats are traveling abroad than ever before, and police intelligence unit PST warns they’re more likely to be spied upon than ever before as well.

Newspaper Aftenposten reports that PST has issued a new “threat evaluation” in which it warns official delegations against the threat of espionage, especially when they travel “to countries with an interest in gathering intelligence on Norway” and to countries with “undemocratic regimes.”

PST claims it “has registered increased activity against Norwegian citizens who travel to or are stationed in such countries.”

Trade Minister Trond Giske, who travels nearly as much as Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Oil & Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe, asked PST to prepare the evaluation. PST responded that spying was likely against both unofficial and official delegations. Although PST did not specifically name countries where spying could be expected, it’s believed that both Russia and China are high on the list.

“When traveling to countries with undemocratic leadership, one should expect to be under surveillance by intelligence officers,” PST wrote. Common tactics include “expanded checks” of luggage and travel documents, ransacking of luggage and hotel rooms, filming and wire taps in hotel rooms, cars and meeting rooms, taps on communications equipment including mobile phones and computers, and planting of spy programs on computers and phones for long-term tapping of information.

Theft of sensitive material, surveillance also outside of official programs, and even attempts at extortion and threats could be expected as well, according to PST.

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