US embassy accused of spying in Norway
4 November 2010
OSLO — Norway has demanded an explanation from the US embassy in Oslo after a television documentary said it had conducted illegal surveillance of hundreds of Norwegian residents for over the past decade.
According to the TV2 News channel, the US embassy had employed between 15 and 20 people, including former high-ranking Norwegian police officers, to monitor Norwegians in a bid to ward off attacks on US interests in Norway.
The surveillance had been going on since 2000, said the report.
Embassy-hired employees had photographed people taking part in demonstrations and added their names to a special computer database, SIMAS (Security Incident Management Analysis System), TV2 reported.
If the report is correct, the embassy conduct would constitute a violation of Norwegian laws.
The Norwegian foreign ministry said it had held a meeting with the US embassy Wednesday to try to find out what had taken place.
The ministry had asked for information on whether Norway had ever been informed about the surveillance programme and what it involved, ministry spokeswoman Marte Lerberg Kopstad said in a statement.
“The meeting did not clarify these matters much. It is therefore important that we now get all the facts on the table,” she added.
Representatives of the US embassy could not be immediately reached for comment, but mission spokeswoman Marit Andersen stressed in a statement that “Norway is a friend and an ally.”
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