CONFIRMS Head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Kjell Grandhagen, confirms that the NIS is conducting surveillance on Russia.Foto: Jacques Hvistendahl / Dagbladet
CONFIRMS Head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Kjell Grandhagen, confirms that the NIS is conducting surveillance on Russia.Foto: Jacques Hvistendahl / DagbladetVis mer

NIS-chief: - Necessary to «closely monitor» Russia

Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen admits that the NIS pays close attention to what is happening in Russia.

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The chief of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS ) service, Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, will not comment on the details of the unique document from National Security Agency (NSA) that Dagbladet has gained access to.

The document, part of the so-called Snowden documents, proves that Norway and the NIS play a leading role in the monitoring of Russia, Russian politicians, military and civilian targets.

- Why Russia is important for the NIS?
- Norway's proximity to Russia, the development of Russian society and Russia's significant military force in the vicinity of Norway, makes it necessary to pay close attention. But the NIS does not engage in industrial espionage, says Kjell Grandhagen to Dagbladet.

Close cooperation - The document Dagbladet that have accessed is an internal NSA document that the NIS has not previously seen. The document describes how the NSA views Norwegian intelligence capabilities and intelligence targets and how they see the cooperation between the NIS and the NSA, says the Lieutenant General to Dagbladet.

- The document bears evidence of being authored by an American officer, and the NIS will not necessarily stand behind all of the formulations used, says Grandhagen.

Norwegian laws Grandhagen says that the Norwegian Intelligence Service abroad follow Norwegian law.

- Norwegian law authorizes all our activities. It appears from the Intelligence Act that the NIS shall collect and analyze information regarding Norwegian interests in relation to foreign states, organizations and individuals, and that the service may cooperate with other countries, says Kjell Grandhagen to Dagbladet.

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- The NIS support different parts of the public administration, and receive our assignments through the Ministry of Defense, says Kjell Grandhagen.

- Are all NIS activities under political control?
- The NIS is under full political control. The Ministry of Defense approves cooperation with other countries, Lieutenant General responds to Dagbladet and continues:

- The NIS cannot monitor Norwegian people in Norway, and do not do so. There is full national control over the information that is shared with other countries. The EOS committee, The Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee, is continuously controlling this. Partners who receive information from the NIS may not share that with others without our consent.

- Who do you share information with?
- Information is only shared with foreign partners to the extent that it is considered to serve Norwegian interests. As a small country, Norway is particularly dependent on cooperation with other countries in the intelligence area.

NSA On December 10th Dagbladet sent eleven to the National Security Agency, concerning the mentioned document specifically and the cooperation with Norwegian authorities in general. NSA will not answer any of the questions, beyond a standard formulation that it has given several other media on Snowden-related issues:

- We will not comment publicly each alleged intelligence activities, and US authorities have made it clear that the United States engaged in intelligence gathering abroad of the same type as all countries do, writes NSA spokeswoman Vanee' Vines in an email to Dagbladet.

This article is translated from Norwegian by Martine Aurdal.