Norwegian intelligence warns of new types of nuclear weapons developed by Russia

NIS NorwayTHE RUSSIAN MILITARY IS developing powerful new types of nuclear weapons, which cannot be contained in the framework of existing arms control treaties, according to a new report by Norwegian intelligence. The report, published on Monday by the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), comes on the heels of a last-minute extension of the New START nuclear reduction treaty between the United States and Russia. On February 3, just days prior to its formal expiration, Washington and Moscow announced an emergency extension of the treaty, which will now last until February 2026.

But according to Focus 2021, the NIS’ annual assessment of ongoing security challenges, the New START treaty is insufficient to cover some of the new nuclear weapons that are being developed by the Russian Armed Forces. In an interview with The Barents Observer, NIS Director Vice Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, warned that, among other notable changes, the new Russian nuclear weapons “fly low or travel underwater”. This makes them extremely difficult to be detected by existing missile defense systems, he said.

The NIS report notes that the new Russian nuclear weapons are not yet operational. However, the Russian military is currently testing and developing them across military bases situated in northern Russia, some of which are located near Norwegian territory. Among these weapons is the Poseidon, which is described as a “nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped underwater mega-drone”. Another concern for the NIS is the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile, which is reported to have global reach and is said to be able to evade existing missile defense systems.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 09 February 2021 | Permalink

Norwegian spy service seeks right to break law during espionage operations

Royal Norwegian Ministry of DefenseNorway’s supreme legislature body is considering a bill that would offer immunity from prosecution to intelligence officers and informants who are authorized by the country’s spy service to conduct espionage. The bill has been proposed on behalf of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defense, which supervises the operations of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Norway’s primary intelligence agency. The NIS operates primarily abroad and is the only institution of the Norwegian state that can be authorized by the government to break laws in foreign countries. However, supporters of the new bill point out that NIS overseas operations can also break Norwegian law. That is something that the proposed bill addresses, they argue.

The proposed bill offers immunity from prosecution to NIS case officers and their assets —either informants or foreign spies— who may commit offenses under Norwegian law, as part of authorized espionage operations. In its consultation note that accompanies the proposed bill, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense admits that a number of NIS operations “already violate existing Norwegian laws”. That is inevitable, argues the Ministry, because officers and informants who engage in espionage operations will often “act contrary to the stipulations of criminal law […] as part of their assignments”. They may, in other words, “do certain things that would be illegal if they were done not on behalf of the intelligence service”, states the consultation note.

The document does not provide details of the types of offenses that are committed in pursuit of intelligence operations, arguing that “the offenses that the NIS commits, as well as its methods, must remain secret”. It does, however, suggest that intelligence officers may make use of “false or misleading identities, documents and information”. They may also “smuggle large amounts of cash from the country”, which they will use to pay foreign assets. Given that these assets receive Norwegian taxpayers’ funds, and that some of them end up settling in Norway, it is important that their proceeds not be considered taxable income under Norwegian law, according to the Defense Ministry. By reporting their revenue to the Norwegian Tax Administration, these assets would make their NIS connection known, and thus blow their cover, the document states.

The Defense Ministry notes that the new bill “will have little legal significance”, as NIS espionage operations are generally shielded from prosecution under Norway’s existing legal codes. It will, however, formalize the NIS’ legal scope and allow the agency to assure its case officers that they can perform their missions without fearing arrest or prosecution, so long as they act within the parameters of their authorized missions. The spy agency will also be able to recruit more “informants, sources and contractors”, says the document.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 November 2018 | Permalink

Does Norway engage in international espionage?

NIS HQ

NIS HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
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. Read more of this post