The Arctic is attracting more foreign spies. Norwegian and Danish security services are reporting that foreign countries are anxious to secure their position in the High North.
The growing number of international players in the Arctic has led to the boom in spying against the two Scandinavian countries.
Jacob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service PET (Politiets Efterretningstjeneste), told Danish newspaper Berlingske that there was a “marked” increase in spying activity directed at the Arctic areas lately.
The Norwegian Police Security Service PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) agrees on PET’s observations:
“I can confirm that we, like our Danish sister organization, are seeing increased activity by intelligence agencies in this area,” Martin Bernsen from PST says to Aftenposten. “We see that certain countries are actively trying to gain a foothold in the north.”
Norway, with its geographic location, energy resources and high technology, is “an especially attractive target” for spying, Bernsen says.
In its 2012 annual evaluation of possible threats against Norway PST writes that “in the years to come, we expect a stronger intelligence-gathering focus against Norwegian political processes, especially those tied to the High North and Svalbard.”
Kristine Beitland of the Norwegian Business Security Council (Næringslivets Sikkerhetsråd) confirms that companies involved in research and development are particularly vulnerable to business espionage. This concerns first of all those tied to oil, gas and the maritime sector.