MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - The newly-appointed Norwegian NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had ties with the KGB, the main Soviet security agency, under the code-name "Steklov" during the Cold War, according to former KGB officer Mikhail Butkov.
"In the early 1990's, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg had contacts with a Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB) officer, who established a file with personal and political information on Stoltenberg and gave him the code-name 'Steklov'," wrote the Norway Post on January 24, 2000, just a few months before Jens Stoltenberg took office as Prime Minister of Norway in March, 2000.
In seems that this episode from his past will haunt Jens Stoltenberg for years to come. Stoltenberg had been the Prime Minister of Norway in 2000-2001 and 2005-2013. He was appointed NATO’s new chief in March 2014. Since then, rumors of his alleged KGB ties began to surface in the press.
Commenting on these rumors, Norwegian intelligence officials admitted that the KGB had made efforts to recruit Jens Stoltenberg in the early 1990s, but the attempts failed: Stoltenberg reported the incident to the Norwegian authorities, according to the Associated Press.
However, many questions still remain unanswered. About fourteen years ago, NRK 1, a Norwegian state-run broadcaster, released a documentary called "KGB's last offensive," about the KGB activity in Norway on the threshold of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The documentary analyzed facts and evidence provided by Mikhail Butkov, a disillusioned former KGB officer, who was sent to Norway undercover, pretending to be a journalist in the late 1980s.
Although Finland and Sweden were considered neutral countries during the Cold War, they were still secretly assisting the Scandinavian NATO members Norway and Denmark by spying on the USSR, noted Geoffrey R. Weller, a Professor of International Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia in a paper he dedicated to Scandinavian security in 1997.
According to NRK, Mikhail Butkov had switched sides in 1989 after he was sent to Norway by the KGB. He ran to the West in May 1991. Between 1989 and 1991, Butkov worked as a double agent under the code-names "Plainsman" and "Lennart". He reported KGB’s activities to the Norwegian Police Security Service (POT), as well as to MI6. Mikhail Butkov also provided MI6 and POT with information about Norwegian politicians and officials who were considered useful by the KGB. Thus, the Norwegian security forces could prevent the leakage of sensitive data and warn the politicians involved in compromising cooperation.
According to the documentary, an unnamed Norwegian politician under the code-name "Steklov" approached POT in 1989. To find out the real name of the politician whom KGB considered a potentially valuable source of information, Butkov visited the KGB headquarters in Moscow and illegally gained access to the file on"Steklov". In January 1990, during a meeting with POT officials, Mikhail Butkov revealed that "Steklov" was actually Jens Stoltenberg.
Remarkably, soon after Mikhail Butkov's revelation, it was announced that Jens Stoltenberg had been selected to become a member of the Defense Commission. In order to accept the post, Jens Stoltenberg filled out a special questionnaire and admitted to having contacts with Boris Kirillov, a diplomat and a press-attaché at the Soviet Embassy in Oslo.
According to Butkov, Kirillov was a KGB officer who recruited Norwegian officials as agents or informants. Stoltenberg had become a member of the country’s Defense Commission in February 1990. Four months later, in May 1990, POT warned Stoltenberg against further communication with Kirillov. In June 1990, the Norwegian security agents asked Stoltenberg to suspend contact with the Russian press-attaché for the second time, according to the NRK documentary filmmakers.
In spring 1991 Butkov defected to the West, leaving his KGB past behind. Later that summer, Boris Kirillov was declared persona non grata by the Norwegian government.
This information has been broadcasted in 2000 by Norwegian television and was confirmed by the Deputy Head of the Special Branch, Stein Vale. According to the Norway Post, "Vale underlines that Stoltenberg has done nothing wrong, and that he has not passed on critical information. It was quite common for the KGB to make contact with young politicians and journalists."