Convicted Norwegian operative refused new hearing

The spy baby pram used by the Norwegian security police against Treholt in 1983

The spy baby pram used by the Norwegian security police against Treholt in 1983

Norwegian former Defense Ministry official, Arne Treholt, who was convicted in 1985 for espionage on behalf of the Russian KGB and the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS), has been denied a new hearing by a Norwegian review committee. This was the fourth time Treholt had applied to be considered by the Norwegian Criminal Cases Review Commission, in an attempt “to clear his name”. In 1984, Norway’s Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste (Police Security Agency, or PST) arrested Treholt at an Oslo’s Fornebu airport while the official was on his way to meet a Soviet KGB agent in Vienna, Austria. The PST recently revealed some details of the counterintelligence operation against Treholt, which included surveillance activity in Helsinki, Finland. Specifically, on May 14, 1983, two PST agents pretended to be a couple strolling while pushing a baby pram, which in fact contained “a Nikon FE2 camera with a 105 mm telephoto lens looking out of a hole” (see picture). The agents took covert photographs of Treholt meeting KGB agent Gennadij Titov at an unspecified Helsinki restaurant. In another operation, PST agents used a shopping bag equipped with a camera to photograph Treholt meeting with Titov and another KGB agent, Aleksander Lopatin, in Vienna, Austria (see photograph). During his trial, Treholt admitted that he met with a KGB officer but denied that he had passed along any sensitive information. He was given a 20-year prison sentence for espionage, but was released in 1992 on grounds of ill health. Since his release, Treholt has lived in Russia and in Cyprus. In 2004, he was invited by the Greek Socialist Party leader, George A. Papandreou, to attend the Athens Summer Olympics as a “guest of honor”, possibly in return for having “actively supported the underground opposition to Greece’s military dictatorship from 1967-74”.  [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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