Swedish NATO troops covertly approached on Facebook

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Members of Sweden’s armed forces serving with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan have been systematically approached via online networking application Facebook, and asked to provide details on NATO’s military presence in the country. According to Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, several such incidents have occurred in recent weeks, leading Swedish intelligence officials to the conclusion that the online courting is part of a wider intelligence operation directed against NATO. The incidents have been confirmed by Mårten Wallén, who heads the Information Security Unit of Sweden’s Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST). The official did not discuss the actual number of incidents, but he did reveal that the approaches via Facebook have been systematic and carefully aimed, beginning with harmless, commonplace prompts and then slowly building up a common frame of reference, with statements such as “I too have been in Afghanistan”, “what do you do there”, and so on. Interestingly, Swedish military officials, representing one of the world’s most networked nations, have not used this incident to prevent troops from using Facebook. Instead, soldiers were cautioned to “think twice before they upload pictures and give out information”.

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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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