Kjell Grandhagen, the chief of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) minimized the impact of Edward Snowden's revelations.
"My main observation is that the Snowden leaks have resulted in very few fundamental changes to how intelligence services work. Some changes to legislation and duties have taken place, but in the main business continues as before," he stated, addressing to the Oslo Military Society.
However, Kjell Grandhagen noted that in many states intelligence budgets have been increasing since mid-2013, when Snowden exposed a large-scale surveillance activity of the American security agency. The NIS chief emphasized the importance of data collection on ordinary civilians, citing security concerns and pointing to an imminent threat to Europe posed currently by Islamic extremists.
"Sometimes I hear people say, 'Of course NIS should be allowed to use any methods it needs to hunt down terrorists, but there are lots of types of monitoring we do not want'. To those people, I say, 'It is very easy to keep track of the terrorists we already know the identity of, but this is not today's challenge," the head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service noted.
According to the Norwegian intelligence chief, there are a large number of potential terrorists security services know nothing about. Referring to a proverbial "needle in the haystack," Kjell Grandhagen noted that NIS was actually looking "for a straw with about the same color and length as the other straw stalks," possessing no information about potential evil-doers. "That is today's challenge," he underscored.