Does Norway engage in international espionage?



The death sentences handed down earlier this week by a Congolese military court to two alleged Norwegian spies, prompted Brian Palmer, of Slate magazine, to ask: do small countries like Norway engage in international espionage? The answer, of course, is yes. Palmer explains that intelligence agencies of smaller countries tend to be extremely focused on bordering nations. As a result, when it comes to their immediate geographical neighborhood, their intelligence knowledge and capabilities often surpass those of larger intelligence powers. Norway is a good example of this. Ever since the days of the Cold War, the US has depended on the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) to monitor the activities of Russia’s Northern Fleet, which is based in Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The Murmansk Oblast, where Kola Peninsula is situated, borders Norway and is home to many ethnic Norwegians, some of whom have collaborated with the NIS over the years. That aside, however, the NIS is not known for operating in Africa, notes Palmer. Unlike Britain, France and Belgium, whose intelligence networks on the continent are extensive and well known, the only known instance of Norwegian intelligence activity in Africa was the secret funneling of funds by the Norwegian government to the African National Congress, during the later stages of apartheid rule in South Africa.

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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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