US espionage in Oslo angers Norway
According to Norway’s TV2 channel, the US Embassy has employed up to 20 Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) agents, including police officers, to spy on Norwegians since 2000.
The SDU agents are reported to have been tasked with monitoring Norwegian citizens whom the US Embassy accuses of being ‘suspicious’. The monitoring took place from the sixth floor Handelsbygningen building which is several hundred meters west of the embassy.
According to TV2, the detailed and sensitive information about the so called ‘suspicious’ people would be handed to embassy staff who would then store it on the worldwide anti-terror Security Incident Management Analytics System database a.k.a. SIMAS.
The Norwegian foreign ministry held a meeting with the US Embassy Wednesday to discuss what had happened, the Telegraph reported.
The ministry spokeswoman, Marte Lerberg Kopstad, said in a statement that the ministry had asked for information on whether Norway had been aware of the espionage programmed and what it involved.
The US Department of State spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, confirmed the operation had taken place, but also alleged that Norwegian authorities were aware of the situation and were cooperating with the embassy.
“We cooperate with authorities in the host country to do everything we can to protect our embassies [from terrorist attacks], including Norway,” he says.