Defense minister mum on surveillance

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Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen won’t answer any questions about the US’ controversial surveillance programs revealed by American whistle-blower Edward Snowden, or what she knew about it, as “a matter of principle.”

Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen

Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen PHOTO: Forsvaret

Strøm-Erichsen became the first Norwegian government minister responsible for security issues to grant an interview about the Snowden revelations, with newspaper Aftenposten, but she wouldn’t reveal much if anything, stressing that those working with intelligence are sworn to secrecy.

She confirmed her ministry has insight into surveillance of Norwegians abroad and how often intelligence is shared, but she wouldn’t go into detail. She confirmed she has insight into what the military intelligence agency E-tjenesten does, but won’t say whether she knew about the US’ controversial PRISM program or the British Tempora. Nor would she say with which countries Norway shares intelligence or whether Norway is viewed as a legitimate spying target.

“You can ask and ask, but I won’t answer,” Strøm-Erichsen told Aftenposten, because that, she said, would involve divulgence of classified information.

newsinenglish.no staff